Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

January 25, 2009

Just saying 'Good bye'.


We said goodbye to one of our good friends last Friday. Charlie Hueckman was killed in a logging accident on January 11, and there was a memorial service on the 24th. Chuck was a year younger than me and was Ivan's best hunting, fishing and 'just about everything else' buddy.

This is what Chuck liked to do, cut trees and pull those logs out of the woods. This is during one of three logging operations we did together over the last several years.

Below are a bunch of pix of Chuck helping on the garage project. Alot of these photos need to be 'double clicked' for a good view.

Chuck loved hunting and he went to Idaho every year for the last 18 years to hunt Elk with his bow. He met up with his good friends Andy and Rick Wilund to spend a week or two camping and hunting in the mountains. A couple of years ago he got a real nice one.

Below are some views of Chuck relaxing at our garage party a couple of years ago.

Chuck really enjoyed operating machinery. He had two kinds of skidders and he had an arrangement with Kenny Pearson to rent Kenny's bulldozers. Chuck did some 'stumping' and leveling at the Ottertail on a couple of occasions.

Chuck also spent some time helping on the Taj Mashack, the Lord and Fisher hunting lodge.

This was a common pairing since about 2001, when Ivan discovered fishing from kayaks. He and Chuck spent countless hours prowling the shorelines of Cranberry Lake. Between these two a lot of fish went from lake to frying pan.

So long, buddy.... I wish I would have connected with you a lot sooner, but spending time with you these last 7-8 years was a distinct pleasure. You'll be well remembered......


January 17, 2009

Weather Update


There was a comment recently that went like this: "Hows the deep freeze there? Seems we have all forgotten what Wisconsin weather is like...want to shut down when it reaches zero. Sheesh..." This is how the deep freeze is at the Ottertail. This was at daybreak on last Wednesday, and Thursday was almost the same. I think we had about four days where it never made it above zero during the day.

All the north windows in the living room had this border of hard frost. Just like Tim remembered.....
Thursday and Friday had all the schools closed in the area around here. Even Prentice!!!! I know that's hard to believe. Come to think of it I'm not sure they were closed on Thursday. Wood burns up really quickly in this type of weather.....

This post was complete and then I saw the photo below with a news story.....

Arctic front freezes US, Canada in record cold snap. Hmmmm...

This is just for cheeriness and a hope for warmer weather...... this is from some friends when they were on Lake of the Woods in Canada.....


January 16, 2009

Catchin up.....


Near the end of December I got out early one Saturday morning to watch the sunrise. The lodge looked pretty neat with the smoke and sun in the trees.

Remember Tim talking about Jack Frost on the inside of the house windows? Look at what I found behind the curtain on the big window in the lodge's main room..... you need to expand this photo.

Bottoms of the trees still in shadow, old sol making the tops bright.

On New Year's Eve, Peg broiled a couple of small filets we found in the freezer. That, and a baked potato, made an excellent start to our evening. We then moved out to the lodge, where the fire was keeping it toasty warm, and we had some treats to bring out as well.

Shrimp/sauce, herring, peanuts and cribbage... what could be better? I'm not sure what that is that Peg has mixed up in that glass?

Our self portrait photos at New Years never seem to get any better. I take the blame for that.

Last Sunday I got out for a little fly. Weather was pretty nice, sunny, nearly 20. I called Kristi to see if she had any interest in getting airborne. She said "Sure!", so off I went to Phillips to get the plane ready. By the time we were ready to go, the weather had changed some, the sun was no longer shining and the ceiling was lowering. We flew anyway for about 50 minutes.

I always force people to pose in front of the plane as proof that I'm not the only nut in the area.

All set to go. I'm impressed with her choice of color for her coat! It matched the plane nicely. Thanks for going along, Kristi, next time we'll go when the sun is out and we can see the world allot better. Tell Adam that if he's nice, he can go sometime, as well.... 8-)


January 11, 2009


I went flying Saturday. No wind, sunny and it was supposed to get to 24°. Well, it never got that warm, but it was good anyway. Here is Dardis Lake, looking at it from the West.

And behind, farther east, is Musser Flowage. Both of these lakes were used as landing strips by me a couple of winters ago. There is too much snow/frozen slush bumps/tire ruts and stuff like that to be landing just on wheels this year. Skis are the required item on the plane for these conditions.

I had programmed into my GPS the latitude and longitude for Riley lake. Some of the guys were going to be fishing there today, so I thought I would do a fly-by to see if they were there. You can see the single track going out on the lake from the near shore.

I arrived at the lake at 5200' up. About three circles of the lake at reduced throttle and a descent airspeed of 70-75mph brought me within about 500 hundred feet of the ground. Another trip around the lake brought me within 20' of the ice and I could see the guys holding up a fish, so I new they were catching some.

I flew up around Wintergreen lake and did a practice landing approach to the snowmobile trail on the lake. Next I flew to Park Falls airport for two touch and go landings and then I flew upstream on the Flambeau River for a couple miles. It's always fun flying 5-6" off the ice on the rivers....
When I was refueling back at Phillips, that huge moon was just rising. I still had my camera inside my coat and got a couple of pictures.

I'm heading back to my hangar here, with the yellow curving line going to the left indicating my turn-off to the hangar. This taxi way is aimed right at the moon.

This is the view from my hangar looking back toward the east-west runway. It's always a nice view in the evening. All these photos need to be double clicked to give a larger view.

One and a half rows of wood gone, hoping that pile lasts through the winter... Those are some old flat belts off one of our old machines we build at Marquip. We sometimes get the machines on trade for rebuild and resale. The old flatbelts are discarded and people like to take them home for various uses. They work well for pile covers.

Under the flatbelt...

Those belts were over hanging the pile only by a foot or so when the pile was new. After the second row is gone they will be touching the ground. That will be cause for repositioning the belting for ease of filling the wheelbarrow with wood.

That's all from the Ottertail, leave me a comment about what's cooking in your world.



January 1, 2009

Christmas Day events.


On Christmas Day we all got up early (kind of) and we launched into a breakfast brunch affair. Hailee and I made the pancakes, and every one else had a specific job. That way things were a lot easier to manage.

I'm thinking she likes pancakes..... usually eats like a trooper when we have them. Next time I'll give her a crack at the eggs.... so to speak.

Chris was in charge of the scrambled eggs, and we had sausage links, bacon, and toast in addition to the pancakes.

Peg has a really nice pancake form in the shape of a teddy bear. Hailee likes them, so I make sure to use it whenever I can.

Everyone got a few gifts and we had a good time trying to figure out Hailee's method of gift distribution.

These two seemed to be buds.

Yes, I actually got a gift or two. Too much reference to me in this post? Tough, it's my blog, I'll post what I want.

And Peggy got some new monkey face slippers. Eat your heart out, Liz.

Seems to me that when I was young, these items were referred to as 'breaking dishes'. At least that's what my sisters called them.

My stocking was in the shape of a moose head, and Hailee looked excited to deliver it.

Bryn must have behaved herself this year, as Santa brought her a stocking, too.

Hailee had to dig deep to get all the goodies out of this generously sized sock.

Balloons and hair. Always a good combo with kids around.

We all had a great time, and we remembered to get a few group photos. Since the celebrations have ended, Peg and I have just settled in and enjoyed our time off work. The weather has been a little milder, with a couple inches of snow today. It's going to be colder again, hope the wood pile holds out.....