Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Great Escape

This is our cabin.

Its where we go when we need to just... be.

This is our boat.

Its not big, not fancy.... but it works.

From it, we catch some of these:

And, some of these, too:

Walleye, perch, northern pike, bass.

(The kids, we don't need to catch... they just showed up a few years back and decided to stay.)

We built the cabin about seven years ago, and it was one of the best things we ever did
(besides deciding to let the kids stay).

We had a contractor put up the shell, but did the rest of the work ourselves.

My husband built the bar. We'll hide beneath it if ever there is a tornado.

As you can see, he's a better woodworker than I am a decorator... but its on my to-do list.

The problem is that I'd rather walk the trails around the lake...


eat s'more s'mores...

look at the flowers...

...and just... be.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Only in Minnesota

Common Snapping Turtle sitting on top of a bea...Image via Wikipedia

Last night we spent a few hours finishing the fence around the new cow pasture. It was a sun-kissed, golden late-summer evening, and even the deer flies were held at bay with a modest spritzing of bug repellent. Some girls prepare for a relaxing Sunday evening with their spouse by dabbing on Chanel and packing a picnic basket... but not me. I pour on the Avon Bug Guard Plus and toss my fencing supplies into a plastic pail.

Okay... so the tools vary... but the general idea does not. There is always a project to tackle, but this year it seems the focus has been specific to building fences meant to contain domestic animals and repel the wild variety.

So far... the fences have performed well in the former category... the latter, not so much. This spring, numerous pairs of Canadian geese saw fit to take up housekeeping in the horse pasture, and now upwards of thirty of the noisy feathered nuisances graze there, peacefully co-existing with the horses. At least, as peacefully as possible, for geese. They do get progressively more bold, and now come right up to the barn. Ironically enough, we live across the road from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "Waterfowl Production Area", which the government spends quite a lot of time and tax money maintaining... but the geese don't go there. No geese there at all, not one. It seems they feel they are above living in government housing and instead prefer this side of the tracks.

The geese aren't alone, however. They've been joined by, of all things, snapping turtles. We saw a few earlier in the summer, when they would come up from the lake to lay their eggs. It seemed an interesting anomaly to see two of them in the same year. That is, until we were out fencing last night...

We were wading through the tall grass, chatting away, my husband carrying a huge spool of fencing wire and I, the bucket of insulators and tools. Suddenly, he emits a surprised "Whoa, hey, look at this... I stepped on a rock and it moved!" And there, hissing at his feet, was a huge, algae-covered, prehistoric-looking creature. We marveled at it for a bit (always have to do that, looking at a snapping turtle is akin to rubber-necking while passing the scene of an accident... the temptation is hard to resist), and then my spouse picked the two-foot behemoth up by its scaly tail and moved it out of the pasture... carefully avoiding the snapping end.

It was not five minutes later, at the opposite end of the pasture, when he stumbled across another, even larger snapper. I'm not sure if its an omen or what, but seeing two of these lake-dwellers crawling around high ground outside their normal breeding season really was pretty odd. We speculated that the second was Momma Snapper out hunting down her philandering mate... at least that's what we garnered from her cranky demeanor... moved Momma out of the pasture, as well (meanwhile cautioning her that we have, in fact, been known to consume snapping turtle)... and finished our work.

Now, finally, my cattle have a nice new pasture with belly-deep grass in which to graze and lounge under the oak trees. And, for once, the shoe is on the other foot (hoof?), as I cautioned them to watch where they step.

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