Archive for May, 2009

Week 2

May 31, 2009

Our 2nd week guests have arrived home safely.  We had a nice batch of folks…about 30 total.  I sent about 15-16 new Conservation Award Program photos to our website.  They should be uploaded by mid-week.  The water’s still cold–48-50 degrees.  Folks were still able to catch lakers shallow.  We saw some nice walleye and northern released, and most folks did pretty well on all species.

The guys in Cabin 3 have been coming for a long time–long before we took over.  They’re a pretty funny group.  This year there were two new guys with them:  Gary (Dave) and Todd.  Todd is a double amputee with a twisted sense of humor.  Early in their stay he commented about my “Welcome” booklet in the cabin.  I let folks know that if they’ve forgotten anything to ask me before they go purchase whatever it is; I often have extras of things around here someplace.  Todd asked if I had any socks he could borrow.  I was trying to get more details when he reminded me that he has no feet.  Cute.  After I told him that he was no longer my favorite in the group, he asked if he had put his foot in his mouth…

Terry is their group organizer.  His e-mail handle/nickname is Mr. Toad.  He’s been following the blog religiously (thank you, Toad) and loved the entry where I had a shot of “pussy willow” followed by an entry of “pussy cat” (my girl Shasta).  Toad, this one’s for you:

Toad (that we rescued from the lake)

Toad (that we rescued from the lake)

Mr. Toad

Mr. Toad

Cabin 3 has a hummingbird feeder on the window.  We noticed this uninvited guest in the feeder, though it didn’t stop the hummingbird one bit!

spider

We had some new arrivals this week.  Their folks paraded them by.  They won’t let them get close yet, but before long we’ll be wishing they lived elsewhere:)

Yeah, they're cute now but wait until they're pooping everywhere!

Yeah, they're cute now but wait until they're pooping everywhere!

Well, if you’ve been watching the weather you know we’re still not fully into spring around here.  We’ve had a couple of frosts in the last week.  I can’t plant anything!  My plants are staying in the house until I know we’re done with the arctic blasts.  I have rhubarb (thank you so much, John and Marie) that I want to get in, but I’m scared for it:(

Anyway, I digress.  Last Wednesday turned out to be a pretty nice day.  We declared a “social hour” for those interested.  Potluck doesn’t start until this week–it will probably snow–so we just gathered for a cocktail and snacks.

social hour

Paul and Eldon pimping my schwag!

Paul and Eldon pimping my schwag!

It really was a lovely evening.

It really was a lovely evening.

Two people conspicuous by their absence from our social hour:  Billy Martin and Moose Macht.  We miss you guys!  We wish you both improved health and hope to see you at Tall Pines Camp in 2010!!!

I’ll post some nature photos taken by guests later this week.

Photos from May 15’s Snow:(

May 28, 2009

Our first-week guests have arrived home safely.  Sandi sent me these photos from her camera.  They’re the ones who saw the bear on their way up.

I've still not seen one this year.

I've still not seen one this year.

The night before the May 16th official opener was when we got the snow.  I posted a few photos but was so overcome with grief that I opted more for hibernation.  Sandi took this picture as I left their cabin and headed home.

Dejected

Sandi’s husband Eldon hates the snow and cold as much as I.  Sandi, on the other hand, loves all weather nasty!  She decided to make herself a buddy.

Snowman

Thank goodness the snow was melted off the following day.  We’ve not had any since (knocking on wood as I type).  In fact, the weather’s been pretty pleasant for the most part.

Sandi also shot a photo of another friend taking off:

See you guys in the fall.

See you guys in the fall.

Sandi was also able to get out and fish a bit…

Next time:  the Conservation Awards Program

Next time: the Conservation Awards Program

We Survived Opening Week

May 24, 2009

We made it through our 6th opener!  The weather was pretty rough…lots of wind, rain, COLD.  Today, however, is very nice.  We had 16 guests participate in our Conservation Awards Program.  Their photos will be posted on our website:  www.tallpinescamp.com  (click the “fishing” button).  There were some very nice fish caught and released.

This week’s group all arrived safely.  I’ve heard mixed reports about the fishing.  Some guys got right on ’em; others are still looking…of course it’s only been one day.  Some of our guests who struggled last week with the soft bite went to using a slip bobber and had much better luck. 

Our minnow order was delivered by plane.  They usually drive a truck.

Plane

I asked the guy if he’d be interested in doing any one-day fly-outs.  He laughed and asked if I’d ever looking inside one of these planes.  (I was reminded of the movie Airplane! when the pilot asks the kid if he’s ever seen a cockpit.)  I hadn’t been in one of these tiny planes, so my curiosity got the best of me.  Guess there’s really not room for passengers…other than minnows. 

cockpit

My brother, sister-in-law and niece are visiting.  We went “moose hunting” last night.  There was a huge bull standing in the ditch just as darkness came.  My sister-in-law has an awesome camera and takes tons of photos all the time.  Something wasn’t cooperating on her camera and she was trying to get it right.  The moose was drawn to the flash and actually came toward my vehicle out of curiosity.  These photos would have been incredible…if only the camera and/or its operator would have functioned properly!  That moose was RIGHT THERE for a long, long time.  Finally, he dropped back into the bush and waited for us to leave.

Opening Week

May 20, 2009

Well, week one is officially underway.  We have 35 guests in camp.   They have been good sports about the weather.  Sunday was beautiful–fairly warm, bright blue sky, lots of sunshine.  Tuesday was pretty good as well.  The other days have been cool/cold, rainy/sleety, windy, etc.  Hopefully spring will be here soon.  We’ve had a couple of nights below freezing, so everyone is on “trickle alert” to keep their water from freezing.  Lots of rain today. 

Some of you have asked about the fishing thus far.  I’ve heard talk of a 27″ walleye released Saturday evening (thank you, Aaron).  We’ve heard of a 34″ lake trout and some large smallmouth bass released as well.  A saw a 40″ northern being saved for trophy and heard of a 14″ perch that made a nice dinner.  Folks are talking about a very soft walleye bite.  Sandi caught (and released) a 33″ northern with a pink pole and 4″ test:)  Anyway, we’ll continue to post our Conservation Program fish on the website (www.tallpinescamp.com).  The first week’s fish will probably appear early next week. 

Adam’s doing a great job on the dock.  This week is good practice for the crazy weeks. 

We have a couple of huge deer living on the driveway–I’ll try to get a photo but they’re quick.  I’m still trying to find the right USB cable to steal some great photos from another camera.  Maybe I’ll pick one up tomorrow in Dryden…yes, I’m off to the big city again.

You’ve GOT to be Kidding

May 16, 2009

The weather’s been nothing short of awful this week.  Temps have been freezing (literally), rains been pouring, and the wind has been vicious.  Thurs. evening I needed to find a piece of beauty in an otherwise unpleasant day.

Sunset

Of course, we get a million beautiful sunsets every season.  This was honestly the nicest the whole day ever got…wind died down, rain stopped.

Friday brought snow.  Yes, you read correctly…snow.  We started with freezing temps.  As it warmed a bit, the rain came…and came…and came.  As evening fell, Roundabout and his/her companion took to the lake.

Guess we could call them snow geese...

Guess we could call them snow geese...

Our first guests arrived Thurs. afternoon.  They saw a bear on their way!  I’ll see if I can’t snag their photos.  They’ve been very tolerant of frozen water pipes, horrid weather, etc.  While I had a glass of wine with them Fri. evening (as the snow came), our large opening week group began to arrive.

The snow didn't seem to bother them.

The snow didn't seem to bother them.

I’ve done my best to stay inside most of this week.  I’ve made curtains, baked, eaten everything in sight.  I’m simply a fair weather person.  I could live the rest of my life without seeing/experiencing snow.  Sounds funny coming from an Iowa girl, doesn’t it?  I know it’s been raining a bunch in Iowa but at least it’s not snowing!

Iowa or bust

On a positive note, all of our bait has been delivered.  Steve and Adam have gotten all of the lawn maintenance equipment ready for sunnier days.  Adam and I have accomplished a lot in my shirt shack.  Things get done, it’s just a lot messier doing them with the mud and muck.

I’ll leave you with a couple of photos from this morning.  I took them from inside the house, of course.

Across the lake.

Across the lake.

Our front yard this morning.

Our front yard this morning.

Almost Ready

May 12, 2009

First of all, thanks to everyone for the positive feedback!  Our reading audience is increasing which makes it more fun for me. 

Yesterday was another all-day trip to Dryden for me.  The guys stayed back and began getting some boats in the water for our opening-week guests. 

Boats ready

I was gone a total of seven hours (granted, two of them were spent getting new hair).  It was a gorgeous day, too–not one to be spent driving or sitting inside.  The high yesterday was around 60.  Today’s high is in the 40’s and it’s windy.  We still might see a couple of downright cold nights.  I’m not planting anything until it’s full-time decent.

The door-to-door people are about to drive us mad!  They just show up…no notice.  They always start their spiel with, “I know it’s a busy time for you, but…”  Holy cow! 

I’ve been able to get all of my cabins expecting bodies this week ready, from the macro (beds made, curtains hung, etc.) to the micro (updating magazines, counting silverware, etc.).  I can work on the remaining cabins next week.  I’m probably too anal for my own good…I doubt many folks notice if I update their cutlery or make sure they’re playing with a full deck (of cards that is).

Steve and Adam have been doing cabin repairs:  planing doors, hanging light fixtures, anything else I can find;)  I had run them around so much that it was time to bring out the big guns.

This is the older of our fleet of two.

This is the older of our fleet of two.

In my spare time I’ve begun opening boxes of new schwag!  I ordered a few things from each of a few distributors.  It’s always fun to see what I ordered last fall ’cause I can never remember.  I’m still waiting for one order.  Then I can start hauling things to the outside office.

The tip of the iceberg...currently located in the house loft.

The tip of the iceberg...currently located in the house loft.

An old friend has turned up!  Opening week last year an injured goose lay on our boat ramp.  We feared for it, thinking it was sure prey for a fox, wolf, eagle, something.  The goose started hopping around and swimming.  Though ostrasized by the other geese and ducks, it would come around during feeding time and take what it could get its bill on.  Mike, last year’s employee, started calling the goose Roundabout.  You see, it has only one good leg and therefore swims in circles… 

A couple of days ago we noticed a pair of geese in the yard.  The one on the right has only one good leg and hops like a pro.

Ruthie, I've brought a friend for you to meet!

Ruthie, I've brought a friend for you to meet!

Well, time for me to get busy.  It’s too cold and windy for a walk, so I’ll opt for the tool of torture in the loft.

Tool of Torture

Do I know how to have fun or what?

Adam, Misc.

May 10, 2009
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Meet Adam!  He arrived without incident Friday evening.  He’s all moved in and seems comfortable.  He’s 22 and lives in eastern Ontario.  He is on summer break between college and university.  He’s doing a natural resources type of degree–perfect for here.  This isn’t his first rodeo either; he and his girlfriend worked at a camp last year.  We think we have a good fit.  He’s a little thin…I’m working on that though.

We all partied a bit last night–I’m feeling particularly slow-mo today.  However, we had a perfect morning for finishing up the docks.  So after breakfast we went for it.

Steve used the ramps to get the 4-wheeler in place.

Steve used the ramps to get the 4-wheeler in place.

Prepping the station

Once the station was ready, they had to separate the smaller set of docks from the main set.

Drifting apart

Steve uses the boat mostly to keep the docks where he wants them.

Steve uses the boat mostly to keep the docks where he wants them.

getting close

Now it’s time to line up the pieces.  I operated the winch on the 4-wheeler, Adam used the boat to “nudge” the docks forward/backward, and Steve told us what to do, when and put the pins into place.

Lining up

Lining up 2

 

 

Lining up 3

All that’s left is securing the end with the ropes and chains in the lake.

Securing

Two points I need to make:  1)  it was colder than it looks out there.

That's ice on a mini-puddle by the dock station.

That's ice on a mini-puddle by the dock station.

2) None of this process is fast.  It’s no secret that I have the attention span of a gnat.  So I took some photos while I waited.

Pussy willows

Pussy willows

Shasta

Pussy cat:)

I guess the golden eyes decided to clean out the woodduck house where they’ve been staying.

There was a bunch of this on the ground around the tree.

There was a bunch of this on the ground around the tree.

This cute little bird was hopping around on the beach.  It looks like some sort of chickadee with quite a bit of yellow underneath.

Cute bird

After the docks were in place Steve decided to hook up the highly technical driveway dragger.  He took a few turns around Camp and out to the road, smoothing out some rough spots.

Just add a mattress...

Just add a mattress...

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there!  A special shout out to Gladys and Veronica, smiling down on us:)

Sure Signs of Spring

May 8, 2009

We’ve had visits from both the fuel tanker and the propane tanker.  Salesmen are coming down the driveway.  It’s snowing on Friday, May 8.  And wait…what’s going on down there?Getting Ready

Looks like we’re getting ready to do something big.  What’s that coming up the lake?

Starting out

It's getting closer...

It's getting closer...

It's our docks!

It's our docks!

Yes indeed!  Steve determined it was a still enough day–AND THE ICE WAS GONE FROM THIS LAKE–to bring the docks to Camp.  Of course, as soon as he began this mission the wind came up just enough to mess with him:)  Getting the docks here is just part of the battle.  I had to gear up to supervise.

Camp wife chic, as always.

Camp wife chic, as always.

Steve always tends to overdress for an occasion…

Good thing, too, as he actually had to get in the lake.

Good thing, too, as he actually had to get in the lake.

Once the docks are kind of lined up, he hooks the 4-wheeler to the front and begins putting things together.

Winching

The ramp is raising nicely; he'll lock it into place.

The ramp is raising nicely; he'll lock it into place.

There are big chains/ropes out in the lake that he’ll use to secure the end of the dock.

Securing the chains

Better hurry ’cause a storm’s brewing to the south.

Finished the main dock just in time!

Finished the main dock just in time!

Then the rains came (followed by today’s snow).  It just poured!  Right now both sets of docks are at the main station; on the next nice day Steve will unjoin the two sets and float the 2nd set into place. 

Herb from Wine Lake Camp was seen heading in by boat yesterday.  We did not see him come back.  We hope this means that the entire lake is open.  We haven’t seen Dave Peffley yet, but I bet we will by Monday. 

Tall Pines Camp is in fine shape for opener!  The spring cleaning is done.  Young Adam, the dockhand, is due to arrive this evening.  His cabin has been cleaned and is waiting for him.  Now it’s time for everyone to get busy!

Birds and Ice

May 6, 2009

Yesterday morning there was a strange sight on the lake:  a group of three swans.

swans

The rest of the day was busy, busy, busy.  Spring cleaning continues.  The crew thinks they’ll finish Thursday.  Rose has stayed with us all week.  The poor thing sleeps like the dead at night!  I’ve been feeding her well, though. 

This morning the ice had broken loose and was heading toward our shore.  I snapped a few photos.

It's moving as a unit toward our shore.

It's moving as a unit toward our shore.

It was incredibly foggy toward the north...

It was incredibly foggy toward the north...

but unbelievably clear toward the south:)

but unbelievably clear toward the south:)

mergansers

Those are mergansers that have been hanging out around the landing.

Flickers are nesting in a wood duck house (and golden eyes are nesting in a different wood duck house).

flicker

When Steve woke up around noon, the ice had come even closer to shore.

It's floating slightly north.

It's floating slightly north.

I was up getting Cabin 4 ready for the cleaning crew.  An old friend was right above the cabin.

Eldon, where are you?  I've been waiting and waiting!

Eldon, where are you? I've been waiting and waiting!

Look at it's broad chest...probably from eating ducks...

Look at its broad chest...probably from eating ducks...

I don’t know if eagles make those pellets like owls, but I found this below this one.
It looks like a wet pellet(?)

It looks like a wet pellet(?)

Well, enough goofing around for now.  Another sign that season is almost here:  the fuel truck pulled in today (OUCH). 

Lake and driveway report

May 4, 2009

Well, first the lake report.  Good winds the last couple of days and super warm temps today are helping.  This photo shows how the lake is pulling away on the opposite shore.  If you look toward the narrows, you can see open water on the other side.

pulling-away

This photo shows the progress of the big hole going north.  It’s open beyond the boat ramp.

the-big-hole1

In between naps today, Steve was able to put in a boat and go check on his docks (they were fine).  He also drove out to the ice’s edge and said it’s still pretty thick in some places.  We’re due for more good temps this week…a little wind would help a lot.

It was sooooo nice today that I took a good walk in t-shirt and shorts!   I should mention how much I miss my good friend Cheryl during these walks.  She and I do five-mile walks often in Iowa.  We kick butt, too–we can do 5+ miles in 1.25 hours!  I didn’t see any critters out there except for the occasional raven and a butterfly.  I did see lots of evidence of beavers…holy cow they’ve been busy along 105.  When I returned to Tall Pines Lane, though, I saw that we’d had a visitor (or two):

Moose on the loose!

Moose on the loose!

I thought it looked like two different sizes heading toward 105.

I thought it looked like two different sizes heading toward 105.

I should mention that these tracks may have been there before I took my walk.  Steve and I had a dump date, then he dropped me at Manotak Lodge (about 4 miles south of Camp) and I walked back.  Closer to Camp on the driveway I saw “signs” of a deer.

deer-sign

Yesterday Steve and I took a drive–looking for logs.  We saw several ravens and this big eagle along 105.  We figured they were eating on something but couldn’t see what it was.

eagle-in-tree

Spring cleaning continues.  38 beds made; 25 to go.  The crew is about halfway through the cabins.  They anticipate being done Friday.  Our new dockhand, Adam, is due to arrive Friday.  If the ice cooperates, he and Steve can get docks in place some time before the 16th;)