Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

March 29, 2008


Greetings. The image below is a preview of a pane at the bottom of this blog window. It's the gizmo contolling the music you're hearing now.... assuming you have your speakers turned on. If you don't, turn them on now!!!

I am attempting to compile a collection of the world's "Absolute Best Music". If you have a great tune you like to hear, let me know and I'll add it to the player. That way you can listen to your fave while reading this blog and WRITING YOUR COMMENTS. If you don't like this music gig, your solution to this problem is just to turn your speakers off while reading this blog and WRITING YOUR COMMENTS.

The piece that starts this list, Edward Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches, March in D Major, Op. 39, No. 1, is at the top of this list for a reason. Listen to this piece in it's entirety at least this one time. It is simply the greatest piece of music ever written. Period. Well, that's my opinion..... It's been my favorite for many years. Whenever I hear it I inevitably recall those Saturday mornings when I was a little kid and mom would have her classical music albums playing as she went about her work. I seem to recall something called "Collection of Light Classical Piano", or something. It was great. I wonder what happened to all those sets of LP's in those fiber board boxes... pictures of orchestras, Beethovens scowl, a grand piano.....

Let me know if you have any ideas about this music player. You can click on any song in the playlist to listen.. If it's too annoying, I'll just 86 it from the blog...

I gotta go, Carlo

March 27, 2008

Official cabin fever....

Today it hit! I need this snow to melt, the roads to dry out, etc., before I go completely mad....
Swede and I left work at 3:30 today and headed for Midway, a pub "midway" between Phillips and Prentice. Ivan showed up a little later and we managed to solve most of the world's problems...

Just to show how blank my mind can get, I've added my new pet to the bottom of this page. You can feed him if you like....

Due to a general lack of activity on my part, I'm having to dig up file photos of past times. This is my turkey cooking device, a stainless 'can' that sits atop a turkey that is impaled on a rod that's stuck into the ground. A ring of charcoal is burned around the base of the can, thereby creating high temperatures in the can, cooking the turkey.

I just took the bird out and got it into a big pan to transport to the kitchen counter, then to the table, then to my plate.... well, you get the idea...

Anyone care for some global warming? Maybe a few toxic fumes? You might as well take advantage of it all, your taxes are paying for it....

You really need to expand this picture. I think they should give us all kites instead of shuttles. Much cheaper, more personal involvement, fewer clouds of fumes, aaaand like dat.....

I gotta go, Carlo

March 24, 2008

There's flying, and then there's flyin'..

Early morning out the back door. As you can see, we still have PLENTY of snow. We may not have gotten as much over the season as some of you, but it does not tend to melt between storms up here. Forecast looks like no 40° weather until next week....

Here's a pic I got from Lucy, along with an explanation of it. Called a fire rainbow, caused by high cirrus clouds, ice crystals and the sun hitting it a precisely 58°.... ? Well, you can get the complete story here.

Last Thursday I decided to go into the sky. Peg was in Phillips and took a few pictures as I was getting going.

It's easy to find the taxiways and runways because everything else is covered with SNOW!

Did I mention we still have some snow around? Onlyhow, off I go, into the wild, blue yonder....

Yram saw this Pileated woodpecker on their suet feeder the other day. What an awesome sight they are! Big and noisy.

Bryn was in the area on Saturday, so she decided to finally get off the ground. We headed up to Phillips mid-afternoon to take a tour of the area. She had her arms spread out in imitation of the airplane, I just didn't get a good angle for the photo.

O.K., the clowning is done, time for the official proof photo. We didn't spend a lot of time up there, but we did get down to Ottertail Country to get an ariel view of the place. Then back to Phillips and earth....

She certainly is a cheerful, as evidenced by these photos. We've had pictures of birds, planes, now it's time for a picture that's neither bird nor plane......


March 18, 2008

March flying!

Yes, turkeys can fly... and very well! Sometimes when I step out the back door the whole flock will fly up, scare the heck out of me, and then they cruise up high and sail into the woods. You think those birds have made a few trips across the yard? It hasn't snowed for a while so it looks like a few hundred have walked through the yard. But that's not the flying I'm referring to.....

I went to Phillips Sunday afternoon and got the plane out. Clear, no wind, about 30°. I fired up and headed North. I had the camera along, so I took a shot of Solberg flowage as I winged by.

Soon I could see Park Falls quite clearly, and I was up to about 4500' by then. I thought maybe I would head north for a while, and I climbed to 6500', appropriate for the direction I was heading. I passed Butternut, Glidden, and then Mellen was in sight.

As I neared the Penoke Range I could see quite easily that most of Superior was free of ice, but the Chequamegon bay and the area around the Apostles was iced in. The photo is not good, hazy, dirty windshield, etc, but the blue stripe through the photo is the lake edge....

Then I was directly over the Penoke mountains. It is noticably higher right there, even from this altitude. Lots of trees, snow, trees and a bunch of trees. A pretty desolate area and I was glad to get over it and in sight of some farm country. The tension eases a little when the woods are thinner.......

Back to things at hand. The gps says 28 more miles to JFK Memorial airport at Ashland, and I'm going 65mph airspeed. Enlarge these photos for a much better view. This is about the lowest tech, most inexpensive gps unit one can get. I bought it quite few years ago for using in the woods and such. Now I have a couple of dozen surrounding airport co-ordinates stored in memory and it's nice to see the direction, distance reaming, time countdown etc. No replacement for planning and plotting a course with a sectional map, but a good addition.

Here's another shot of the islands and bay. I took about a hunnert pix, but very few of the distant lake photos turned out worth a hoot. It was a captivating sight, I must say. I'll go back a little later in the season, and pick a day with good light and no haze. That should help with photos.

Soon Ashland was very obvious to the North. The penninsula looks very different from the air than when driving. You know how it's shaped, but you never get a sense of how it really is. From the air it really is an awesome sight....

Hey, there's JFK!! It looks just like the photo on the airport website. It looks just like the sectional. Airports stick out like a sore thumb from the air. You can notice it more easily than Ashland itself. The airport is on the southwest corner of the city, just of 112, the road you may take to bypass the bulk of Ashland to the west??

I checked the AWOS at JFK (automated weather observation system), noted the 9mph wind from 40°. That meant selecting runway 02 (20° heading), making the proper downwind approach, base leg and into the final approach. The landing was uneventful and I taxied up to the terminal. Here I am parked with the big guys.... the terminal is a log structure, very nicely done.

A guy at the airport said that the ice all around the islands had melted on top, re-frozen and ended up extremely smooth. A little bit of snow on the ice and he said landing on the ice was possible just about anywhere in that area!! If it had been a little earlier, I would have gassed up at JFK and headed out to the islands, but I was on a schedule to get home about 1/2 hour before dark. Darn!!
Anyway,I warmed up for a while, called Peg to let her know where I was, and then I headed back south. Mellen was fast approaching, and this is what it looks like from the northwest.

And here is another view of those bleak, winter Penokes. It looks so different from the overpowing green of the woods in summer, when we have been up in that area the most. Getting over these hills means about another 30-40 minutes of travel to Phillips.

Even before you get to Mellen, you can see the smoke from the mill in Park Falls, and soon after that you can spot the smoke from Lionite mill in Phillips. Here is a view of Butternut Lake, between Butternut and Park Falls and just to the west. It's big lake and it seemed to be calling to me to investigate it at ice level. No time for that today, and it won't be long before flying low over lakes won't be a good idea......

Another view of Park Falls, this one from the northwest. I can't wait until warmer weather so I can leave the doors off the plane and take a photographer with me. I'm shceming about a way to mount a camcorder on the wing struts so I can get a little video of some take-offs and landings. We'll see.

I gotta go, Carlo

March 9, 2008

Early spring!

I can hardly believe that it has been a little over two years since I bought this plane!! This pic is on the first day I saw this plane, had a ride in it and then we met with Carl Green the following day..... I was hooked.

Here's a photo taken by a friend as he was flying next to us. It was at a fly-in by Wild Rose the summer before last. I hope to get back there this year. It's a cool event with some skills tests, like bombing a fake ship with a volley ball, dropping bean bags in the letterdrop event, and spot landing competition... stuff like that.

Here is the left side of the plane's engine. See all the blue hoses? See the duct tape on the oil cooler at the front of the engine? This is the cooling system layout, an oil reservoir, hoses, etc. The trouble with this set-up is that in cold weather the engine runs too cold, hence the tape on the cooler. Until mid summer, it's a constant re-adjustment of tape.

So, I got this cool little rig that will allow the oil flow to bypass the cooler until the oil is at 180°, then keep the oil at that temp via a thermostat in the bypass mechanism. No more tape, faster warm-up in the winter, no more dropping temps during a descent in cooler weather. Now I just need to get it installed.

Recycle time.... John and I were out with the camera one day and we saw these people laying on the ground at the Ottertail.... Peggy, Yram, Mag, Bryn and Lucy. What the heck, we said???? Turns out they were spelling out "Hi" with their bodies. I guess this qualifies as groupies?

I thought this pic was especially nice... it's a bridge somewhere in Alaska and it casts a cool shadow. Almost as nice as the shadow next to my plane in that pic a couple of posts back....

Just realized that this Show is over in less than a year!! I wonder which puppet show will follow? Which troupe will be pulling the strings in the background? You can be sure that it will not be what it appears on the surface.

Hey, it's that time of year again, maple syrup season! Here is a view of my cooker a number of years ago. I really need to do a cooking session one of these years. It's one of those rare activities that get you out into the world in March and early April when it's not really spring enough, still cold at night, cool during the day, muddy as heck some times, but you go out and spend lots of hours day and night for the "cooking".

Here are Kate and Lucy and Bryn keeping watch at the cookhouse. That was the first year I cooked under a roof at the Ottertail. We built that lean-to structure the fall before and had it ready to go. It worked out well and many a starry evening was spent out there, with the only sounds being the crackling fire and the occasional owl hoot.... perfect.

March 2, 2008

The olden days.....

First off, here's a view of a turkey making itself scarce. I guess I got too close to the window while trying to photograph the flock.....

Anyway, I just took a little walk down memory lane. If you go to "Old Ramblings" in the right sidebar, you can select a month's worth of old posts, starting with the inception of this illustrious, long-lived blog..... May, 2005.
As always, double-click photos for enlarged view.

Have fun, Carlo