Follow by Email

Monday, May 30, 2011

New residents at Cascade Bluff

We just arrived on Sunday afternoon at Cascade Bluff for a long visit, and decided it was time to bring up our kitties: our old gray tabby, Alexander the Great, and our new girl, 12 week old Rosie the Riveter, who has quite a personality.

Here is Rosie in charge of things inside the VW van -- which was stationary at the moment of this photo, but we will admit, yes, they were loose in the back of the van during much of the trip. It was either that or electroshock therapy for everyone...
Here they are, somewhere hurtling through the time-space continuum heading north on I-35, behaving very nicely for the camera....


Rosie managed to figure out it was sometimes safer and more comfy inside the carrier than outside of it...


It is Memorial Day Weekend up here and our weather on the holiday was chilly and rainy. What happened to the top of Cascade Mountain??


We had a very nice visit from our friend Nancy Baker who was heading back from her cabin near the Gunflint Trail. Her husband Dan and his friend were launched on an 85 mile BWCA trip starting (for those who know the lakes) in Saganaga and then down the entire route of border lakes and rivers all the way to the real deal--the Grand Portage itself, 8.5 miles of portaging! Wow, a reenactment of voyageur guts and prowess... or maybe insanity... Nancy is smiling, or perhaps laughing?
A cozy rainy day at the cabin means lots of naps for kitties...

Cabin Life... complete with high speed internet service...

We iz sleepin'... Be quiet, you guys...

It was chilly enough for a fire, and Rosie discovered that the Virginia Slate hearth holds heat really well. Feels good on the tummy!


It didn't take long for her to find the loft...

...and Alex grabbed a nice warm spot in the loft for his afternoon nap...

But the weather has not all been gloom and rain. Here is the evening we arrived, with spring just bustin' out all over. What a nice evening!

This maple is brilliant red in the fall, and delicately touched with green now...

Gorgeous sky...

...and the promise of June coming just around the corner!

More blog posts to come soon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring is Finally Here!


Spring has finally arrived for real up at Cascade Bluff. We were up for a long weekend May 13 to May16, long nice days, lots of sun (warmer and sunnier than in Minneapolis!) and we enjoyed pretending that we are still 25 years old, getting into all sorts of mischief!

First, that wonderful view again, looking out toward Lake Superior, early spring morning....

Then on to "chores." Val and I are determined to get that *&$%%##! pile of last fall's logs split before we grow too much older....

...and made some progress...

We assembled some of our toys...
(remember the rule, "he who dies with the most toys, wins"? Applies to "she" too...)

And then of course you have to jump the ATV battery... four times...

In order to do anything with the great big white cedar log, you have to peel it...

Then you have to move it around with the ATV and some chains... Don't look like you are having TOO much fun, Val, the people reading this blog won't know how hard we are working...
video

Remember on our last posting, I was standing in my winter jacket and boots with the GPS, in snow, marking the site of the new raised bed garden? Well, here it is... the walls of the bed are those big old cedar logs. Ought to last us forever, and looks nice, too! The ATV was essential in getting the logs where we needed them, 'cause they weigh a ton!

Garden bed with cardboard and some newspaper, to block out the weeds...

Then we had to find something to actually put into that 5 ft by 12 ft bed. We don't actually have anything you could call topsoil up there on Cascade Bluff... Mostly rocks... So we paid a visit to Lakeview Dairy Farm, off the Gunflint Trail. The Source of Dirt!

Dimples is dwarfed by Dave Berglund's tractor with the big scoop...
Three scoops filled her back end...

Dimples with a full load, back up on the bluff...

Here's Dimples backing up toward the raised bed...

Alas, what took Farmer Berglund three scoop-fuls, took us considerably longer to unload, spadeful by spadeful. This is about when we wondered whether we are nuts... Don't worry, Val did more than her share of shoveling, too...

Ahhh!! One truck-load was perfect!

Don't forget the mulch... and some onion sets went in just moments later! Hope they survived...

While we were at the log peeling and moving and stuff, we "built" a bench...

So did we mention something about having the most toys? Well, here is our newest addition to the mechanized jitneys up at CB. Last time we were up, in April, we stopped at a dealer in Duluth and found ourselves the new owners of this machine. It is a Polaris EV -- an electric ATV that is like a powerful golf cart. Seats two, is very quiet, no emissions, and has a little truck bed in back. (Here it is on the lot, our sales guy backing it out for us.)

So instead of gas, you plug 'er in ...

...which in our case means plugging into the Sun! Pretty cool, huh?

Slight glitch! Here the new EV sits, completely dead, deader than the proverbial doornail, stalled at the bottom of our big "Yikes!" hill. We took her for a spin before she was fully charged, and... oops... cough... died. In fact, it died 3/4ths of the way up the big hill, on the steepest part of the slope, and I had to back it down... not my favorite thing... Chris N, our contractor, kindly loaned us his portable generator, which we then ran for 6 hours to charge the EV enough to get back up the hill. Thanks, Keith--that really great bright flashlight you gave us a few years ago was very handy at 10 pm! We are still learning about the best way to keep this device charged with our solar electric system and generator. More to come on that! But it sure is fun to drive, it is a great utility vehicle for us, and it is so quiet you can hear the warblers singing while you ride! (FYI -- the black-throated green warblers and the Canada warblers are swarming all over!)

Not all work, of course, did some exploring now that the snow is gone. Here is our "Yikes!" hill from the other direction, pointing down, in the early morning sun...

We checked out the river, which is really flowing strong!


Cascade in all her spring glory...

...and the very first spring wildflowers! These little mites are about 4 mm across -- and just so darn cute!

We are heading back to Cascade Bluff for a nice long stretch, starting Memorial Day weekend and into the first part of June. More postings promised soon, with progress on the garden and summer unfolding in the north woods...