Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘lake place

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

Barely Damp

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To call the precipitation we received “rain” would be disrespectful to raindrops. Misty would be a better description. Just enough to make portions of exposed surfaces damp. It’s not that I’m complaining about it, but the only reason we rushed to get the shingles on the new woodshed was due to the expected rain.

What we did receive all day long was gale force wind out of the south. There were white-capped waves rolling across the lake throughout the afternoon. It would blow and blow and then suddenly it would gust even harder for a spell.

This morning the contrast couldn’t be greater, revealed in the glassy surface of the water and the absolute stillness of the tree leaves.

Both days share the trait of being particularly gray which combined with the dampness is creating a chill that seems to shout, summer is over! All that excessive heat and prolonged drought are becoming a memory from a previous time.

Labor Day weekend at the lake is traditionally the time we bring the floating rafts in and begin the steps of preparation for less in-the-water activities. We had a fire in the fireplace yesterday to ward off the chill and counterbalance the grayness. I found time to read my adventure book and experience visions of whitewater canoeing, camping, and fishing in the remote north of Canada.

All while being warm and dry in the comfort of an indoor couch.

Elysa and her dogs, Diesel, and Edison have joined us for the weekend, so we left Delilah at home to be cared for by our animal sitter. There’s only so much room for dog energy up here.

Now I’m ready for the addition of a little sunshine. Otherwise, the way it’s going I’m feeling my energy dampened enough to do little but lay around and read for hours on end.

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Written by johnwhays

September 4, 2021 at 9:40 am

Almost Done

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We got close to finishing the woodshed project before calling it a day yesterday afternoon. All that remains is installing shingles on the roof. I plan to do that when we return next weekend.

Cyndie was an essential contributor to the progress achieved. We verbally sparred over the math to figure spacing as I wrestled with factoring in the number of spaces is one more than the number of boards.

She kept solving math calculations in her head before I could enter the numbers into the calculator on my phone. At one point, as I was cutting a spacer block to a dimension I calculated, she texted me the same spacer dimension she figured out while taking Delilah for a walk.

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With tools put away, I was able to grab the remains of the previous unprotected stack of firewood and move it into the new shed.

I look forward to seeing it filled with a couple of years worth of split firewood. We’ll need the first batch soon as cooling weather is about to bring on the days when comforting fires in the fireplace become de rigueur.

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Mostly Level

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It is soaking wet this morning but the rain held off long enough yesterday to allow about a half-day’s worth of effort on my assembly project.

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I continue to be challenged with thinking I have one portion positioned correctly while neglecting to notice an opposite corner was torqued at an angle at the time. I needed to add a one-inch shim to compensate for one such mistake but ultimately achieved near-perfection on getting the base established.

The best part of working on things up here is the ability to dive into the lake just steps away to cool off after a sweaty effort. We had a nice swim and quick sandwich on the deck before the rain dampened things.

Next up is constructing the roof. I’m unsure what portion I will assemble on the ground before lifting it into place. With luck, I will figure that out before it becomes too heavy for Cyndie and me to lift over our heads and screw into place.

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Position Precision

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Perfection is my nemesis and often complicates attempts to make quick progress on starting a project. Soon after I first started thinking about improving the way firewood is stored up at the lake, I was in a quandary about making the first cut of lumber to enact my plan. Obviously, I got past that.

Now I’ve got all the pieces staged and it’s time to start assembly. With four blocks for footings, I just need to set them in position. Simple as that.

I wish.

Is it square? Square to what? Level is easy, referencing a floating bubble, but square is a bit more difficult to ascertain. I start to doubt my visual perception after placing a board against what I thought was an acceptably positioned block to then find it is far out of line with my ultimate intention.

Getting the first block established finally provided a reference I could work from to place the other three. I am choosing to leave the ground sloped and support the right side of the shed on posts, but the exact mechanism is yet to be defined. I changed my mind twice already and the second time was after I thought I had the blocks in place.

I need to reposition them one more time.

When I get the two blocks on the right side ultimately located and leveled, construction should be able to commence at a reasonable pace, with just one hitch. It occurred to me this morning that I neglected to bring up any spare lumber.

While unsuccessfully trying to avoid waking my brain up too early this morning, I conjured up an improvement on the technique I had in mind to support the right side on posts. All I need is another plank or two of treated lumber and I’m set. D’oh!

I will use one of the cut pieces intended for the floor and bring up a replacement board for that one next weekend when we come up for Labor Day.

Before I get to any of that, I need to perfectly position those two blocks on the right end of the frame.

Here’s hoping I will allow myself to settle for good enough.

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Written by johnwhays

August 28, 2021 at 8:33 am