Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

September 30, 2009

Haven't seen this for a while......


Here is something that hasn't been done at the Ottertail for many years!! A local farming family, Nels Holm and sons Neil and Lars, cut and bale hay on other peoples land, so in June I asked them if they would like to do the hay at home. They said sure, but it won't be for a while....

One Sunday afternoon in mid August, Peg and I arrived home to find the grass all cut on the field! The following afternoon one of Lars' daughters arrived on the tractor above and proceeded to rake the hay into windrows. I watched the tractor bounce around quite a bit as the field is very rough after many years of non-farm type activity.

I headed up to the upstairs 'north-looking' windows and took a couple of photos.

By this time there is not much left of the wood piles in the field.

A little later this rig showed up and the baling began. Now these are not bales like we used to make here. These contraptions wind the hat around and around until it almost fills that thing. Then it wraps plastic wrap around them and spits them out on the ground.

We ended up with eight big old round things out there. Hey, Bob, do you remember cutting these fields with your Allis B and the old horse mower???? Ah, those were the days......

About a week ago, the Holm crew showed up with a couple of trailers and a tractor for loading those big bales. They are all gone now and it just looks like a huge, shaggy lawn out there....

I gotta go, Carlo


September 27, 2009

Trying to catch up.....


This last weekend was Christmas Tree Festival in Ogema. I did not go to town, but I hear through the grapevine that quite a few local names were present for the "Run to the Peak", which is a nine mile run from Ogema to Timm's Hill, the highest point in Wisconsin. Anyone care to fill us in on how they did? I hear Kristi, Ivan and Kyle, Russ Blennert, etc were in the run. Updates, people, you know we are the news source for the Westboro through Phillips area.

We had a visit with Hailee in early August. It's always fun to have her around.

Seems like Peggy has a bunch of masks.... go figure. Anyway, Hailee tested them all.

I realized that there has been no wood update this summer!!! I was hoping to use a wood splitter on the bulk of this hard maple, but no one had one that would take our longer wood (25-28"), so right after the 4th of July weekend I started in with my splitting maul.... great fun! Peggy made a deal with me that she would stack the wood if I did the splitting. She is now fully versed in all aspects of tractor driving, wood stacking, etc.

A view of the splitting project. This wood pile started as 12 pulpwood cords so we ended up with a ton of splitting to do.

I had just finished up all the splitting and Peggy was nearly caught up with me.

Starting in on the last load... finally!

Here is a view of Peggy's nicely piled firewood stacks. Seriously, I think I helped stack maybe half of one of those long rows, the rest was done by 'da woman.....

And here is a little view from the top of the lodge...... I like this view. Thanks for all you do around here, Peggy...


September 20, 2009

Canada -- #5--Final


Lake of the Woods was made with sunsets in mind........

And now for the 'natural wonder' part of things.

I was amazed by the number of pelicans that kept visiting us. They really like fish cleanings....
They are great flyers, they would come in circling the boat with their heads pulled back over their bodies, cruising motionlessly on set wings. They looked so 'in control' and cool......

We saw this big old snapping turtle right next to our boat. It was pretty big and all covered with mossy looking green stuff. I suppose it's quite old.

Even when the weather was not the best, the sky was awesome over that lake.

There were a lot of eagles in the area, they spent hours just sitting atop a dead white pine or cruising high over head, riding the thermals.

As I was watching the eagle have a snack, a pelican flotilla came drifting by. When fishing is good, you get a lot of visitors......

One evening there must have been 50 or 60 of these birds in sight near the boat and out in the bay.

If you look back over these photos, you will notice that the shoreline is mainly rock. Part of that old Canadian Shield. Here is a good example of a tree growing out of solid rock. How they do it is unknown to me. This particular example is about half way through 'Dangerous Channel'.

Check these two. You can see the outline of a fish carcass in each of their pouched bills, and each one also has the attached skin of the carcass hanging out the right side of their bills..... I swear I did not set this photo up!

More trees on rocks. This is very much a normal shoreline in the areas we frequented.

Speaking of rocks, enlarge this photo to see me in my kayak pointing up to this bus-sized rock. A few yards to the left and the island ended. This thing looked big as I was paddling up to it, and it just kept getting bigger looking the closer I got.

Big, white boids.

This was how it looked on our last day as we were heading back to the houseboat base. Note the three fishing boats that followed us everywhere we went in that houseboat. It was hard to choose which photos to use for this story, I think I had more than a thousand and Ivan had a couple hundred as well. I know there are better 'rock shore' pictures, but I'm tired of looking.

Here's your last view of Lake of the Woods. If you get the chance to go on a house boat adventure, I recommend it highly......


September 16, 2009

Canada -- #4


Oh, right.... first, the sunset.

The kayaks were stored on the upper deck during transport. The deck was quite full when we got them all up there, three single place, two double place.

Remember the bit about the first fish? Well, Mycal was also the first into a kayak. He just seemed plain old happy to be up there!

One morning the plan was to load gear for fishing and eating and head west from Beacon island. About 4 miles away was a place where one could portage in to Cuss Lake, about 1/8 mile inland.
There would be tons of fish caught and a celebratory shore lunch......

Beautiful area, not too rough but with some rather steep climbs up some rocks.

A dandy little lake, ringed by woods and rock ridges. The only problem was that NO FISH WERE CAUGHT!! I guess that explains the name of the lake........

Ken really took to the late evening walleye fishing. This was his first serious use of kayaks and he really like them and has since bought a pair of them!

Mycal lands another nice smallie..... kayaks are just the best fishing boats!

Ken and Mycal spent lots of evening hours hunting for walleyes.....

Carlo heads out on an adventure, down through "Chanel Dangereaux", or dangerous channel. It lead down to Blueberry Inlet. The channel is narrow, shallow and ... well, dangerous (for boats). Did I mention that it was full of big, hard, sharp rocks just a little below the surface?

'nuff said.....

Go figure! One shirt says "I'm a Fish Magnet" and the other says "Shut Up and Fish". True kayakaholics, these two.....

We threatened to make Ken put some nav lights on that kayak.

On Thursday, I took off on my own to do some paddling. I made nearly a circumnavigation of Yellow Girl Bay, where our house boat was moored. This beautiful little bay was on the opposite side of Yellow Girl, and I took a break here for water, granola and stretching. Right about the spot where I took this photo, I found some beaver tracks and drag marks from where the critter dragged some aspen branches to the water. I suppose it then floated them over to the lodge that you can see way down the shore. There were lots of beaver lodges on the lake. I also made it up the Adams River Bay to the waterfalls where Adams comes into the lake. Nice spot. I got back to the house boat as the weather started to look like rain, and a few drop landed as I beached my yak. It had been about 5.5 hours of paddling and feasting my eyes on the world around.

If you haven't been enlarging these photos, you need to do it for this one at least. What wonderful sunsets!! Maybe it's just because of the big water and open skies? What ever the reason, these were the best evenings one could want.

Here we are loading the kayaks for the last time on Friday. This trip could not have been as great as it was without these little craft. Well, that's MY story and I'm sticking to it.....

Come back to visit again, when we see the 'natural wonder' of Lake of the Woods.