Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘lake place

Wonderful Time

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We are having a wonderful time at the lake with family. Wish you were here.

That’s Elysa’s dog, Diesel chillin’ on the couch with me while I read the digital version of the StarTribune newspaper. The rest of the day consisted of waiting out a rain shower playing a card game; doing a little more tending of the mini-labyrinth pathways; building a jigsaw puzzle while waiting out the second rain shower; catching a couple episodes of Ted Lasso to expose the show to more family members; squeezing in an hour-long bike ride around the lake; enjoying grilled burgers for dinner; ending the day with more card games that included the entire household.

It’s been good to have a break from full-time animal caretaking at home but we miss them and frequently find ourselves wondering how the new sitter is getting along with all the challenges.

I’m not sure that I am fully absorbing the depth of pleasure we are experiencing in not being constantly responsible for walking Delilah or feeding and cleaning up after all the animals at home.

Being up at the lake with family really is a wonderful time, for multiple reasons.

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Written by johnwhays

May 30, 2022 at 6:00 am

Early Getaway

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This weekend being a three-day federal holiday weekend in the US for Memorial Day, we made an early escape from home life yesterday and drove with Cyndie’s mom up to the lake place.

As in:

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We have a recently hired house and animals sitter who is spending her first span of time actually living in our house. Up to now she has been making brief visits to walk Delilah or feed horses in the afternoon while we were away for a few hours. This is the real McCoy now. We are hoping she has a trouble-free few days.

That means we are able to experience some precious time freed of the usual home responsibilities and it feels like it’s been a long time since we had this kind of break. I’m really looking forward to it.

We jumped right in with our favorite, Coop’s pizza for dinner last night. That feels like being at the lake. It being the traditional opening weekend of the summer, there will be plenty of chores to do, but they never feel as much like work when you are doing it with so many friends and enjoying the lake scenery.

Did you notice the geese swimming in the photo above? In the off season, wildlife likes to  behave as if the beach belongs to them. It will take a few consecutive days of human activity for us to reclaim our turf and encourage the beach loving animals to choose the less populated miles of shoreline on the lake for their own.

I was able to fit my bike in the back of Marie’s Kia Sorento for the drive up so I’m hoping to sneak in some hours of cycling north country roads while we are out of sight from all the lumberjack work and mowing, trimming, and compost turning that needs to be done at home.

Thanks to our early getaway, we have a spare day before Wildwood Work Day commands our attention. I’m hoping to soak up each precious moment and slow down the perceptions of passing hours so this departure from our usual routine provides maximum benefits.

All this is in contrast to the jarring blemish on our nation’s souls as more blood has been spilled in another senseless mass shooting. Problem analysis from politicians and talking heads without a glimmer of preventive action just serves as salt in our wounded hearts at this point.

There is little reason to believe the formula that feeds this national disgrace will ever change for the better, despite the majority of citizens clamoring for positive action to control access to assault weapons.

I wish we could all make an early getaway from guns and violence.

Hug someone you love and count your blessings for each day you survive without falling victim to some lunatic shooter.

What an embarrassment for the U.S. of A.

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Spontaneous Trip

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With only the briefest of forethought, yesterday afternoon I decided to drive up to the lake with the fire-pit benches I built last fall. It was windy and a little wet at home, but I didn’t give much consideration to how different it might be a hundred miles north. I drove right into some serious falling snow that occasionally dropped visibility to nothing but the car in front of me.

In addition to the wild weather, I rolled up to a road closure that offered very poor signage about a detour option. A simple trip to the lake place became an adventure I hadn’t anticipated.

Ultimately, I made it to the intended destination safe and sound, but as I traveled up the gravel entrance toward the house there were branches down everywhere on the ground. Then, limbs. Then, trees! There must have been quite a wind event up here recently.

Between the snow and branches, I decided not to bother immediately placing the benches I brought. They can stay in the garage for now, if  I can even get them out of the car. It took me four tries to reverse Jenga® them far enough inside that the hatch could close.

They were built for the fire pit, not to nest inside of each other cleanly. The increasing width of the legs combined with the lower cross supports makes navigating the opening an exercise in advanced geometric problem-solving.

Or, in my case, trial and error.

It worked to get them in there. It’ll work to get ’em out again. No matter how many tries it takes me.

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Written by johnwhays

April 15, 2022 at 6:00 am

Chasing Racers

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There’s an app for that. Family support for race participants becomes a sport in itself. One of the first challenges is interpreting event information provided by the organizers. Then there is the physical exertion of arriving at the correct spot at the precise moment to see specific racers along a 50-kilometer freestyle course. Having an app to show a skier’s progress is a helpful tool, but only part of the information needed in the role of spectator/support people.

Yesterday’s adventure began with the challenge of finding where skiers can be dropped off to catch a shuttle bus with time to spare to reach the starting point of the American Birkebeiner. Oft referred to as “The Birkie,” this is North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon and part of the worldloppet circuit of over 20 international ski marathons and it happens practically in the back yard of our lake place getaway.

When we got to town, taking the back route to dodge a suspected road closure (that turned out to be not closed) there was no obvious sign of where to find a skier drop off for the shuttle. We decided to make the drive to the race start ourselves. Knowing the route to Cable, WI was no problem but reaching the start required a lot of luck and a little bravado. As we got close, we found busses and followed one  past a sign that said “no entry.”

Our heroes, Ella W., and Ellie G. hopped out as the traffic volunteer was instructing us we couldn’t park there. Luckily, we had no intention of parking. We drove back to the house and watched the race progress on a live online feed.

When the time looked right, we drove to an access point somewhere near the middle of the race.

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Our intrepid first-time marathon skiers were in fine spirits and good form which was a wonderful thing to see for those who love them and are cheering from the sidelines. Once again, we headed back to the comfort of the house and some lunch while the athletes were outside pushing their limits in the elements.

With the app offering hints of their progress, we headed out again, this time in two cars so we could give them a ride back after the finish. Our first challenge was to find a place to park in the small town of Hayward where the population had expanded 20-fold for the weekend.

Since our first-timers Ella and Ellie started in the last wave of the race, a good percentage of people were already done and leaving so parking spots were opening up at random. We arrived on Main Street with time to scout out the scene and took up a position that unfortunately offered primarily shadowed views.

Regardless, we hollered excitedly at the sight of the girls taking their finishing strides.

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They had enough skiing for the day, that’s for sure. Gauging their assessment in the immediate moment of fatigue leaves room for interpretation. No matter what, it was a heck of an accomplishment for them. Endurance sports are not for everyone, but it is an honor to witness their achievements in person and live vicariously through their impressive efforts.

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Hello 2022

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Happy New Year! Good Riddance, Old Year! Let’s hope the coming year will bring the ultimate demise of the current global pandemic so we can better focus on dealing with the growing weather calamities caused by the ever-warming planet. We find ourselves under the spell of a deep freeze of -31°(F) this morning here just north of Grand Rapids, MN.

We celebrated the last day of 2021 yesterday with a hearty snowshoe hike in the woods on nearby Wilkus’ property before the temperatures plummeted well below zero.

They have christened the property with an acronym’d designation garnered from Barb and Mike’s grandchildren: Maggie, Allie, Jackson, Jack, and Caleb.

It is a perfect name for the magical plot of varying elevations with thick tree growth and a pond nestled in a bowl surrounded by a prominent ridge.

With almost two feet of relatively fresh snow accumulation creating iconic winter landscape views, we let Delilah bounce ahead to break a trail that we widened with our snowshoes.

For some reason, I kept noticing a mental image of a steamy cup of hot cocoa forming while we clomped through the powder. Barb made my dream come true after we got back to the cabin.

As you might imagine, Delilah was in her glory, pouncing about like “T-i-double guh-er” of Winnie the Pooh fame in the deep snow.

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It took extra effort to dissuade her from a fixation on a tree in which she spied a nut-weilding squirrel energetically climb. So many new sights and smells for her to explore.

She didn’t seem all that fired up about our staying up late to hoot and holler over the Times Square ball dropping in New York at 11:00 p.m. our time. As long as it was midnight somewhere, it was good enough for us to call it a night.

May the new year treat you all with big love in all the best of forms that can be manifest!

Peace!

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Written by johnwhays

January 1, 2022 at 10:36 am

Different Lake

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We are up at the lake again, but not our lake place. Last night we met our friends, Barb and Mike Wilkus at Marie’s house in Edina and they drove us, with Delilah, up to their cabin near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We all agree that it is more fun to wake at the lake.

Very quickly, we recognized there was plenty of snow up here.

Maybe all that snow will provide insulation against the predicted deep freeze. We have a warm fire to keep us comfortable indoors, so we may be playing more cards than trekking in the woods as we mark the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next.

Delilah traveled well for the drive that lasted an hour longer than our usual trips to Hayward and was thrilled over the new environments’ sights, sounds, mounds of snow, and exciting smells. She quickly gained a new friend in Mike, who likes to serve dog treats to good dogs.

There was a lot more sitting politely and offering of a paw in a shake happening last night than I usually see at home in a month.

Hope you have a wonderful last day of this year wherever you are!

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Written by johnwhays

December 31, 2021 at 7:00 am

Updating Benches

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The old log benches around the firepit up at the lake have aged to the point of being overly mossy and crumbling from decomposition. Another perfect opportunity for making use of the store of old lumber we saved from the resurfacing of our deck at home.

Elysa is up at the lake this weekend so I asked her to send me a photo of the benches as they looked yesterday.

It’s fitting to use leftover lumber because that’s how the original benches were made when the log home was built at the lake. Twelve-inch cedar log pieces made for excellent firepit seating.

My idea for replacements won’t be made of logs but they will have some cedar boards and be custom made.

I mixed in some green-treated boards for the added strength and weight to bolster the finished benches. After measuring the old log benches, I designed one tall one and a pair of shorter versions to match.

The results are satisfying and I look forward to testing them out by the lake next time we get a chance to drive them up. The simulated firepit on my driveway didn’t quite match the desired ambiance.

Gives me extra incentive to make the trek up to our favorite place as soon as possible!

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Written by johnwhays

November 20, 2021 at 9:15 am

Glorious Days

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We have been blessed with three incredible sunrises as well as glorious October weather days at the lake this weekend.

The crisp morning air was colder than the lake water and produced mesmerizing steamy accents to the brilliant colors of the sunrise.

Most of the boats and docks have been pulled out of the water, but this poor orphaned catamaran was still awaiting attention.

It made for an appealing subject for a photo.

We didn’t spend much time near the water because there was so much fun to be had creating the new labyrinth path in the woods.

I was able to successfully route the path around the trees to form a shorter rendition than the 11-circuit Chartres pattern we made at home. Cyndie worked tirelessly to dig up rocks and move them to the edges.

There remains a fair amount of time needed to position more rocks and branches to better define the pathway in a manner that will endure through the seasons. Next spring, I envision a need to selectively remove ferns and trillium that cover the ground here in order to preserve the visibility of the path.

Since we usually are trying to transplant trillium from up here to back home in Beldenville, this has the potential of providing plenty of plants for the task.

Before we get to that point, this labyrinth will need to survive the winter, so I guess we’ll just have to make sure to get up here for the glorious days of the snow season and walk the path frequently enough to maintain the definition.

A labor of love.

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Written by johnwhays

October 24, 2021 at 9:48 am

Respite

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leave work early
pack last minute things
ride in the back for hours
surrounded by how many bags
only going for the weekend
to the usual place
how much do we really need
doesn’t matter at this point
the scenery is terrific
all the way to the lake
pick up a home-bake pizza
from our favorite pizza place
multiple hauling trips inside upon arrival
build a fire for ambience
heat up the oven
put up our feet
with a sigh of relief
being right where we want to be
a gift beyond measure
oozing with pleasure
joyous
peaceful
lovely
happiness
we will never take for granted
respite from the grind
perspective refresher
inspiration injector
refueling hope in each of our minds
living our dream
broadening our scope
strengthening our abilities to cope
our beds beckon
and we gladly accept
seeking the best-est of rest
eager to sleep
the deepest of sleeps
in order to wake
exponentially refreshed
delighted to once again be
at this most spectacular of all special places
we are definitely absolutely up
at
the lake

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Written by johnwhays

October 22, 2021 at 6:00 am

Unexpected Shower

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Since the threat of rain had passed yesterday afternoon, Cyndie and her mom invited all the Wildwood members up to our place for a little cocktail hour gettogether on the deck. Before company showed up, Cyndie and I enjoyed a swim in the lake that felt a bit like it might be our last soak of the summer.

Soon after, chips, dips, veggies, and heated appetizers were set out along with plates, napkins, chairs, and seat cushions for the ultimate social gathering. Everyone arrived and conversation flowed delightfully for over half the anticipated duration of the visit.

Then, the sky darkened considerably and a sprinkle of drops fell from the cloud. Plenty of comments were made about the unanticipated probability of precipitation. This wasn’t what we expected for the evening.

Maybe it would pass without significance.

Nope. Suddenly the shower nozzle opened up and watered everything in an instant. Everyone grabbed something in each hand and scampered back and forth to the protection of the porch until all the food and gear were brought inside.

Like any good social gathering, conversations picked up right where they left off. Of course, then the sunshine reappeared and, though wet, the great outdoors was simply gorgeous once again.

Mid-sentence of someone’s interesting story, there was an interruption with the alert: “Rainbow!”

Yes. Yes, there was a rainbow out there now. The widest and most brilliantly vivid rainbow I had ever witnessed.

Most everyone dashed out for a view beyond the trees and phone cameras came out en masse. Cyndie provided this shot for my use.

I stayed on the deck to watch with confidence there were enough cameras capturing the spectacle that I would be able to borrow a shot from someone. Thank you, Cyndie.

After most folks decided the rainbow excitement created a convenient opportunity to head back to all of their respective evening meal plans, we started putting things away. I went down the deck stairs to return a table and chairs to storage and discovered the rainbow was still visible.

Now it was reflecting off the water, too. I took some pictures of my own. A different version of a “double rainbow.”

So, our little party got washed out early, but at least the woodshed shingles project was completed well in advance of the surprise rain shower and no firewood was dampened by the minor deluge.

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Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2021 at 9:11 am