So it is officially winter here. We have the gentle buzz of snowmobiles out on the river. The last week has been very cold and the river finally froze over solid enough for the steady stream of machines to be buzzing up and down that temporary highway.We went out to dinner this evening and then headed over to Crystal Lake to pick up more coffee. As we went over the bridge, we could see a parking lot of snowmobiles around Keefe’s Reef. This is one of the many bars and restaurants that can you reach by boat or snowmobile all along the river. Coming back over the bridge, I noticed that the parking lot was empty, except for a few cars and trucks.
I put Sascha about 8:00 this evening. The neighbors behind us had a fire going and were huddled around the flames. I could hear that unmistakable buzz of power machines over toward the river. There was lots of screaming, yelling, and laughter from that direction as well. That means a noisy evening well into the early morning hours.
The only good thing is that the dam is just above us. That means the snowmobilers can only go down from here to get to the bars. I don’t believe I heard of man and machine going or down the dam itself. But there could be a first time.
We haven’t had that much snow this year. I think we still 10 inches behind our normal for moisture. It’s supposed to snow, drizzle, and frizzle on Sunday. Then it’s going to warm up to the 50s by Tuesday. What crazy weather. I looked out on Saturday and saw that my patio gnome has quite a bit of snow on top of him. He looked frozen and cute all at the same time.
Rich took Sascha out scootering this afternoon. The weather was perfect for a run. The temp was 24 and the humidity was 75%. They were gone for so long that I was afraid Sascha had managed to throw Rich from the scooter and was dragging it off to the great white north. I guess I mean Moraine State Park next to the neighborhood. I figure that’s where the coyotes and any real wolves would be. We believe there is at least a couple over there. We’ve seen some that are larger than coyotes with beautiful coats.
They eventually returned to the house. Sascha was at a slow trot, but I think that was a smile I saw on her face. She just loves to run.
Next Saturday, Free Spirit Siberian Husky Rescue is doing their annual chili dinner and dog sled demos in Harvard, which is north of here. I took her last year and she was able to harness up to a sled as one of the lead dogs and help a team pull. She was so happy and really looked in her element. I plan to take her back and let them hook her into a team again. I don’t think she has forgotten her time on the dog sled team while she was with the rescue. Pictures to follow.
The guys continue to work on the insulation in the new garage. It’s going slowly, but pretty well. Rick is working on it around his schedule at school and the extreme cold. Rich is planning to take off work on Monday to help out. It’s supposed to be in the 40s. This will be one more day he can burn before he loses any more vacation time.
With some luck, the insulation will get done soon. Rich has decided to hire out the dry wall job. It would go a lot faster. Because of the 10 foot ceiling, it would be better if a professional did this part. I think Rich is hoping to get the electrical in by this spring. One more step toward having the garage ready for some real work.
I usually have my vacation plans for the year made by the first of January. I was running a little bit later this year. I got most of the plans finalized by the second week of January. We plan to attend the Chicago Blues Fest in June. I made hotel arrangements and we are staying downtown for the entire festival. This will allow us to go to Grant Park during the day and wonder around town to find more blues in the evening. We have some places that we always want to go and this will be a primary opportunity to finally do it.
In July, it looks like we’ll be heading to San Antonio, TX for a reunion of Rich’s Air Force group. This will be a first time meeting, so it is a small event. It might grow, but it is only dinner right now. Rich is very excited. I’m hoping this grows into a full reunion later on as the years go. I assume we’ll be stepping up to help with planning and execution. We’ll be seeing Rose while we are in town. Who knows, we might even see if they will let us hang out there.
In September, I’ve rented a cabin in the Gatlinburg area. We plan to go driving through the Smoky Mountains and do some hiking. We’d like to put our feet on some part of the Appalachian Trail. We used to go camping at Pigeon Forge when I was a kid, so I’ve been in the park several times already. I have some places I would like to go back and visit again. The last time I was there in the 1980s, it was crazy. I’m hoping we can avoid most of that. We also have some friends in the area and plan to catch up with them for dinner one night.
The cabin I found has a view of the mountains. I’m hoping it is on the sunset side, but I think it is the sunrise side from the pictures I saw. There is a hot tub on the porch, big screen TV, and lots of windows all around. I really had to look around to a cabin that fit everything I wanted. Now if it just isn’t in the thick of things in Gatlinburg. Picture to follow in September.
On Wednesday, I decided to finally wear that leftover kilt hanging in the back of the closet. Rick gave up the Stuart tartan that he had started out with. I had gotten him a Campbell tartan a couple of years ago. I figured since he really enjoyed wearing a kilt, he should at least wear one that represented the Scottish side of his family. My mom’s family is Ervin. They are part of the Irwin clan for Southwest Scotland. The area is subject to the Campbell clan. There is an Irwin tartan from the 1800s, but the Campbell tartan has more history and is less expensive to buy.
I was really surprised at how comfortable the kilt was to wear. It stayed in place and fit very nicely. I really enjoyed wearing it. A few people were brave enough to ask about it and if it was significant. I know, I was showing off when I could explain the tartan and what it meant. It was fun. Wonder why I didn’t do it sooner?
On Tuesday, the new stove was delivered. Hurray! The delivery guys were very quick and efficient. They had the old one out and the new one and ready to go in 15 minutes. I was impressed. That night, I cooked dinner on it. Wow! Was the old stove that bad or is the new one that good? Dinner cooked in no time at all. Cooking is really about planning and getting things done at the same time. The new stove cooks so much faster and better. I almost couldn’t keep up!
On Saturday, I baked cookies in the convection oven. I had heard that it was so much easier to do. And it was. They baked so evenly and were just the right amount of brown on the top and bottom. Now I want to back more cookies! I did peanut butter, because this is Rich’s favorite. On Sunday, I plan to bake white chocolate Macadamine cookies for Rick and me. Can’t wait.
It’s Sunday already. I’m not ready to start thinking about work again. However, Indiana was playing basketball today. I was a little afraid to watch. Louisville fell to Georgetown yesterday. I didn’t know if I could take the heartache of a loss. They did manage to win, but they definitely don’t look like a team that could win March Madness. I’m watching the various games to get a feel for who has the best potential. March will be here before you know it.
Today, Rich cooked a pork roast in the new oven. We’ve quickly discovered that we are going to have to plan around things getting done much faster. The roast came out to perfection! Hard to believe that convection would make such a difference. Now what else can I find to cook in their as a test? That would mean we need to eat it though. Oh well, the hardships that we have to suffer in life.
Rick worked out in the garage today. He was able to complete the ceiling. That was the hard one because of the angles and reaching over your head. Tomorrow, Rich and Rick will start on the walls. Maybe they can get done in the next couple of weeks. There’s a lot of area to cover on just the walls.