Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

February 28, 2008


Here are a few "lookin' at" items I've found over the years on the web. I have a huge collection of these things, I thought I might put a few on here.

This is one of those things that are supposedly just painted on the outside of a building. This looks almost too good to be true, but it may be the real thing, I don't know.

And another of those impossible figures. Look at the bottom and it faces one direction, look at the top and it's facing the other way. I like this one...

If I remember correctly, the site I found this on said it was a restaurant somewhere. I want a house like this!!

Not much going on up here, cold and dreary. In the bleak mid-winter.... Too much work, not enough goofing off, I want to ride my motorsickle.....

February 25, 2008

February is dwindling....

We've had a bunch of turkeys hanging around the Ottertail all winter. Sometimes when you walk out the door, a bunch of huge birds will take off wildly, heading for the woods.

These photos show where some birds took flight and left the marks of their wings in the snow.....

Blow these pics up and you can see the prints a lot better.

We have had an unusual amount of ice on the roof this year. One of the corners of the lodge had a thin icicle that went all the way to the ground!! I think I may be ready for spring, eh?

One of the Ottertail staff photographers took this photo as the moon came up over Marquip early in the evening of the eclipse. That was nice enough, but who could have predicted the sight that showed up later. I stood out on the deck under under those icicles that night, leaning against the wall steadying the binoculars.

It was only -15°, so I was able to stand out there for 10 minutes at a time..... then I would go in, warm my hands (maybe have a pull on the brandy bottle) and then head back outside. I was amazed by the variety of changing colors, the intensity of some of them, the subleness of some. I was also amazed at how long the whole event took and how well I could see the moon the whole time.

It was really worth the effort and cold in order to see this amazing event. The next chance at this is December of 2010, so I hope you didn't miss this one!

I gotta go, Carlo

February 23, 2008

Flambeau frolics

A few weeks ago I talked about following the Flambeau river from Ladysmith back toward Phillips. I since have studied the map a little and began to wonder why I didn't notice the confluence of the North and South forks.... then I saw the reason.

Here's a view of the area just after they join. Anyway, the south fork meets the north in an unusual way. The south fork runs into the north in almost the opposite direction that the north fork is flowing.

That makes it almost invisible to one as they are traveling upstream, trying not to run into any trees, rocks, open water and any other hazards along the way (if you are traveling by plane, that is....).
This second view is what everything else in the area looks like once you get west of Lugerville. Trees and then some trees and other stuff, like trees.

It's quite a sight from 1000' above, and quite exiting to view it from about 20' above the ice. It's a big old meandering river that gets progressively wider as it approaches the dam at Ladysmith.

In the upper reaches, some places stay open all winter in the rapids. The snowmobile tracks stop just upstream from here. This is a good place to leave the river valley and get some altitude, as landing on the river here would be iffy, iffen ya nose watt eye meen....

What a great time it was following the river. The photos are a little fuzzy from taking them through the plexiglass windows. And you do need to double click them to see them better.

In the widest area of the river I glanced over and saw my shadow scooting along with me, so I grabbed my camera, tried to pay attention to flying and taking a photo. It took about three tries, but I finally got this one.
At Ladysmith I headed west and flew out over Christie Mountain, north of Bruce. It's a ski hill that we have been to with the Boy Scouts and they were going there Friday night. So I flew a couple circles over the ski area and then headed up to 5500' and a straight flight home to Phillips. I had a slight tailwind up there, so was cruising at 70+ mph. About 35 minutes to Phillips from the mountain. Ten miles west of Phillips I could see the end of Wilson Lake, the end of the Phillips chain farthest west. So I pulled the throttle back to 4000rpm, pitched the plane down so that I was going 60mph and slowly came down from 5500' to lake level without much adjustment. It was just like an approach to land, only much longer. I ended up skimming the ice on the chain of lakes, popping up to cross the land bridges on highway W, then crossing highway 13 to a short approach on runway 06. What fun.

I gotta go, Carlo


We'll try just this one for the second time..... it's one of the mystery disappearing photos. Dont' they look happy???

February 13, 2008

February stuff and such...

This photo was included because Peg's house is getting a new bathroom floor and a general remodel, including tub/shower and toilet. This picture requires double clicking to get the whole effect. The floor is painted such that when you approach the door, it looks as though there is no floor and you are WAY up in the air!! I wish we could acutally make our floor look like that.

Here is one view of our next year's halloween costumes. Pretty neat....
Anyway, not much going on up here. Lot's of sub-zero weather, then cloudy, then colder than (your own word here). Peg and I have both been putting in lots of hours at work, Peg more than I. After getting up in the air last week, I'm getting anxious for some warmer weather so I can go again. Today it barely made 20°, and this was the first time in about 6 days. Last Sunday it got all the way up to -12°.

Hmmm... looks like the fishies are a little bit upset!

Did I mention that Carlo is taking the leap? A (I can't believe I'm saying this) cell phone is on it's way to the Ottertail. Good grief. We're thinking that we should have a phone while we're on our motorcycles. Also will come in handy in the car when traveling somewhere. We could have used one when we had car trouble in Milwaukee. I'm also looking into getting an adapter cord so I can plug the phone into the airplane intercom so I can keep in contact with Peg as she's motorcycling below me. So, I got the lowest use, most inexpensive pay-as-you-go plan. I'm not giving out my number cause I don't want anyone calling me and using up my minutes... ;-)

No, this is not what it looks like at the Ottertail in February... but it is what I have been thinking about lately. I'm anxious to be outside with out looking and feeling like an Eskimo. I see my motorbike in the garage each day, and I wish I could fire it up and go for a scoot. Hmmm... cabin fever, mayhaps??

That's better.. the fishies are happy again.

February 3, 2008

Winter flying.

Recycled photos. I need someone to come along and get some new pics....

Greetings, I just got back from Phillips after an afternoon of flying!! I started from Phillips and flew really low over some of the frozen lakes in the area. It's really great flying along about 6' off the ice, around the islands, over the ice fisherman, etc. Then I headed south to have a look at Cranberry lake. By then I was up to 3500'. I then thought I would just take a cruise to the South. I got the throttle set just right and the trim tab set for gradual climb. The air was flat and the plane was requiring minimal control inputs from me, and by the time I went over Ogema I was at 5100'. I kept on the same course and by the time I was a mile north of Westboro, I was at 6000' I decided to turn west, climbed to 6500', the correct level for 180° to 360° directions. I switched the GPS to steer me to Ladysmith and I just sat back and enjoyed the flight. It was a 32 mile trip and the scenery was great. About 12 miles from the airport I pulled the throttle back a little, eased the trim lever forward a little and began the descent necessary to get to 2000', the traffic pattern altitude at Rusk County airport. After 10 miles I was at the proper level, made a couple of turns out over the frozen Flambeau river and touched down on Runway 14. I stopped and got out and stretched my legs and then headed up into the sky again. The river looked tempting and it's course would take me generally toward Phillips, so I followed the river, flying about 10' of the ice. I followed the river about 15 miles and as it started to get too narrow for me, I climbed out of the river valley and was 19 miles due west of Phillips. I found Soo Lake on the way back, so I flew down and flew around the lake for a while. I also buzzed some of the lake chain on the west side of Phillips, hopped up to Solberg floweage for a lake level inspection. On the way back I also inspected Deer lake, before returning to the airport and eight practice landings.
Turns out to be three hours and fifteen minutes of flying. I need to do this more often, and this is the time of year for smooth air.

February 2, 2008

More snowshoes. And stuff.....

Double click those pics for a better view.....

Our friends from India, Debangshu and Kakaly, came to the Ottertail last Sunday for a little snowshoe adventure. Mutual friends, Rod and Maggie, also spent the afternoon. This is Deb(angshu).

This is a hard-packed trail made by deer and turkeys. A common route they all use to travel back and forth in the area.

We all got snowshoes on and headed out. Here is Deb just starting into the woods. Luckily we have multiple sets of shoes so we could all go at once. Maggie and Rod brought their shoes with them, so we were set to go.

I finally caught up with the crew and got them to stop and look back. Right to left we have Rod, Maggie, Kakaly and Peg. We took a tour of the west 40, using the logging roads that meander through the area.

This is where we took a little break. It's right close to 'the Hemlock', a favorite deer hunting spot. I have a seat up the Hemlock tree and that allows me a good view of a large area of semi-open hardwoods.

Kakaly took off running on her shoes, I guess she was getting the hang of it...

Here we see Rod and Maggie starting on the trek back to the Ottertail. We didn't have to fight through much deep snow as we had some warmer temperatures a few weeks ago that settled and melted some of the snow.

Many months ago, Deb had seen some of my guns in the lodge and asked about the possibility of shooting some of them. He had never fired a gun of any type and wanted to see what it was like. We started out with a .22 revolver, a six shooter. I explained the safety issues of shooting and made sure he understood that. Next we moved up to a .357mag revolver, which has considerably more power and recoil than the .22 Deb looked surprised at the first shot when the gun jumped up in his hands. I laughed. But not too much, as Deb was doing really well with hitting the cans we had set up about 50' away. Rod called him "dead eye Deb".

The last one we tested was a .44mag, the one in the photo. This gun is quite heavy, lots of power and LOTS of kick. After 4 shots Deb had had enough. I know the feeling, as one cylinder full (6 shots) are plenty for me.....

When we were all back in the house, we got the spaghetti boiling and we had a supper of spaghetti and some spicey stuffed green peppers that Kakaly had brought along. Another great day with friends.

Here are a couple of photos of the loading of the last of the pulp wood... this occured between Christmas and new years. I took these photos from inside the house.

That's about it for now. I gotta go, Carlo