Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

We want to wish all our guests and friends a very Merry Christmas and a blessed, exciting, adventurous and successful New Year.  This morning we woke up to some snowy Christmas scenery.  Lightly falling flakes lay peacefully in the tree branches and brought us another couple inches of snow on the ground. 

John asked if I wanted to go for a snowmobile ride.  It was a nostalgic moment for me as the first time we met, we took a little snowmobile ride and many more after that.  We had a double intention for this ride.  One was to enjoy a romantic ride through the woods and the other was to pack some trails for Joanna to use in training her dogs.  We accomplished both.

One thing is for sure.  We live in a peaceful environment out here in the bush.  We hope to get our new outdoor camera up and running very shortly and put it on our website so that you too can enjoy the winter scenery here at Agimac camp.  So... stay tuned.  :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Historic Demoliton

A few years ago, John used the backhoe to bust up, smash and demolish an old two holer outhouse and then burn it to the ground to make way for our two new outhouses in the area of the campground.   There was one old outhouse remaining that needed to go.  However, there was some history to this particular outhouse. 

Several years ago in the springtime, there were two men camping here at Agimac.  We know them well and they've become like friends.  One of the guys went to use the old green outhouse.  At that time there was a bear hanging around camp and we were watching it as it would slowly amble out of the woods near the dogyard, hear the dogs barking and then decide to go back into the woods. 

Joanna grabbed her camera hoping to catch some good closeup shots the next time it appeared.  Soon we saw it come around the back side of the old green outhouse.  A group of us had gathered to see the spectacle when suddenly the bear stood up and wrapped his arms around the outhouse.   The other camper came running up to us to tell us his friend was IN the outhouse.   We all started to laugh at the predicament in which this poor man found himself. 

After awhile, the bear again walked back into the woods and the trapped camper came running out.  We soon heard HIS side of the story.  He thought his friend was playing a trick on him when he heard a scratching noise on the door of the outhouse.  He peeked out to see what was happening and came face to face with the bear.  He thought his best option was to stay put until the bear went away. 
I think it was a memorable trip for both of them. 

Now the old, green outhouse is history.  Today, John smashed it with his backhoe and burned it.  But I guess that's progress. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Winter Is Upon Us

It comes every year, ready or not.....Winter.....that time of year where camp activities come to a standstill and dog sled training begins.  For me it's a time to catch up on paperwork, making changes to the website, emailing our guests, playing my guitar and cello, taking Joanna to dog sled races and reading a book or two.  The slower pace is welcomed, although being a Florida girl, I miss the long warm, days of sunshine.  Lately, the temps have been very mild so it's not such a shock to the system to go outside for a walk to enjoy the beauty of snow in the trees.

I thought it was time to show a few pictures of the new winter scenery we are enjoying now at camp.  I think our Wisconsin guests have had way more snow that we have already this winter.  I'd kind of like to keep it that way.  :)  


Being U.S. citizens, we still feel that Thanksgiving is the last weekend of November.  We usually invite a few of our Canadian friends to come celebrate with us eating a filling turkey meal.  That was our plan this year as well until my niece, Holly Oberg, came up with a better idea.  John's brother Larry, wife Kathi and their four grown children, along with the grandchildren, all live in northern MN.  They heard about Cherish's new boyfriend Patrick and wanted to meet him.  So they invited them for Thanksgiving dinner in Chisholm, MN to meet all John's side of the family including his mother who had delayed her trip south for the winter. 

Holly called us one day to see if it were at all possible to come down for the day and surprise Patrick and Cherish as Patrick had been wanting to meet her Dad.  We knew we couldn't ALL leave because there were two house dogs to feed, an outside cat to feed and 26 sled dogs to take care of.  In addition, the generator would need to be monitored and the outside wood stove had to be fed wood.  Since I had already met Patrick and gotten to spend three weeks with Cherish in October, I felt John and Joanna should be the ones to go down for Thanksgiving, leaving Wednesday and coming back Friday.  It would be a fast trip, but well worth it since John rarely gets to leave the place at all.

For the next two weeks, John gave me detailed instructions on how to deal with the generator, having me practice starting and stopping it and reading the gauges.  He taught me how to best load the outdoor woodstove and when to check it.  Joanna gave me a long list of instructions on how to feed her sled dogs day and night and what to do in case of any emergencies or problems.  I was well ready for them to go and allow me to do my jobs.  :)

We were all so excited about the surprise, we could hardly wait for the day to come.  Finally, John and Joanna drove down on Wednesday, taking care of lots of other business on the way, and arrived at  the relative's house that evening.  The next morning, I quickly completed my chores and turned on my computer as they had arranged for me to be on Skype on their computer so I could also watch Cherish and Patrick walk through the door and be surprised.  It was like I was really there.  I kept laughing and crying as I listened to Cherish exclaim over and over how shocked and surprised she was to see her Dad and her sister.  I believe Patrick had a good time too as he spent time with each of the members of Larry's family and John and Joanna.  I just LOVE surprises.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dad's 90th Birthday

Wow!  It's been a month already since I last posted on Our Blog.  There's a good reason for that, however.  After hurrying to finish up all the projects I could, I left October 8th for Ely to meet up with Cherish and then head on down to Minneapolis.  We were to fly out early in the morning of the 9th for Asheville, NC.  My sister Wendy and my brother Ron picked us up at the airport and we four went out for a nice lunch together.  It was great fun and we polished off our lunch with a fancy yogurt dessert.

Many preparations had been made by Wendy and her family for Dad's 90th birthday celebration.  Her daughter and son-in-law had spent ceaseless hours putting together a video which included over 300 pictures of Dad from his youth to the present along with videos from each of the family members (including those who were not able to be there for the party) had sent wishing Dad a Happy Birthday.  There were hilarious ones, serious ones, witty ones, and very sincere videos.  About fifty guests were present to help Dad celebrate and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the presentation along with hours and hours of visiting and eating and visiting and eating and laughing.   Dad has five children, twelve grandchildren and seven great grand children who all had a wonderful time interacting and playing together.

The theme of the party was Dad's love for football, especially the FSU seminoles of Florida.  He was one of the first quarterbacks chosen to be on the team and was one of three classmates who chose the name Seminoles for the college.  Plus he met his wife( my mother) at the same school.  Maroon and gold balloons decorated the head table with paper footballs propped beside them.  To top it off, FSU was playing a football game that very day, so Dad and I watched part of that exciting game at his party too.

I so appreciated having lots of time to mix and mingle with older and younger relatives that I had not seen in a long time and whom I had never really talked with in great depth.  Some will even be coming to see us at camp here next summer. 

One of the hot topics of discussion with everyone was Cherish's newly acquired boyfriend, Patrick.  She had met him at a church in southwestern Minnesota where she spoke and led worship at a conference.  It really took her by surprise that her heart opened to him as she has been waiting a long time for the right man to come along for marriage.  It appears that the relationship is budding beautifully and we may have another son in the family before too very long.  I met Patrick  a week ago when I attended a meeting that Cherish's church from Ely was sponsoring.  What a terrific young man he is and their lives seem to match quite well.  It's great to see our daughter so happily enjoying the courtship.  We'll keep you posted about any future exciting events in this relationship.

(Top picture- place of celebration; second picture-banner for Dad; third picture-inside lodge; fifth picture-my sister Wendy and myself; sixth picture-daughter Cherish , Dad and I; seventh picture-Wendy, Dad, myself and brother Ron; ninth picture- Cherish and Patrick)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Renovation Fever

It's the time of year when we feverishly work on the cabins to renovate and update, paint and do some makeovers.  I had a goal in mind of painting the outside of at least two cabins while the weather was still nice.  The goal would have been accomplished if we hadn't had so many unexpected setbacks.  The first time we set up all our paraphernalia for painting,  our paint sprayer tip malfunctioned and we had to quit till we could order some parts.

The second time was when Joanna and I began painting cabin 4 one sunny day in August.  We had installed the new parts into the paint sprayer and all was well.  With great anticipation we started again on our project.  After completing one end, we ran out of the paint we had been using before and opened a new five gallon container.   As we were mixing it in preparation for putting some in the paint sprayer container,  we noticed it was the wrong color.  Uh oh.  We had recently driven eight hours round trip to Menards in Intl. Falls to pick up these five, five gallon pails of paint so I would have plenty on hand.  For some reason, the computer spit out the wrong mix for our color this time.  So, we had to shut our operation down and wait till we could go back down to exchange the paint for the right color.

Once we got the paint exchanged it was near the end of September and I was able to find two days in a row where the weather was above 36 degrees and it wasn't raining.  Again Joanna and I donned our painting clothes and with great determination gathered all the needed tools and materials to start painting cabin 4.  We knew we had a working paint sprayer and we knew we had the right color in the pails.  But when I poured the new paint into the paint sprayer container, it looked much thicker than the paint I had previously been using.  With a bit of trepidation, we began spraying paint on the cabin.  It worked well for about ten minutes, then nothing would come out of the sprayer.  We worked and worked with it, trying to clean the tip.  Still nothing.  My thought was that the paint was too thick.  Since it was latex paint, I thinned it down with some water.  In cooking pancakes, I know about what consistency the batter needs to be in order to make good pancakes.  So, I did the same with the paint and thinned it till it seemed right.  Still the sprayer would not allow the paint to come through.

Finally I gave up trying to use the sprayer and set about cleaning it up with warm water.  I told Joanna we'd just have to paint it all by hand.  She let out a groan knowing what a job that would be and how much longer it would take us.  But in the process of cleaning the paint tip with warm water, it started working again.  With jubilation , I told Joanna we were back in business.  We were barely able to finish the brown color on the cabin before the sun set that day.  Two very tired ladies were thankful the job was finally done.   We'll have to save the trim till next spring, along with cabin 6 which we had also hoped to paint.

The inside of cabin 4 looks a lot different too because it now has all new carpet in the two larger bedrooms, the hallways and the living room/dining area.  What a nice change.

You may ask, "Where was John and what was HE doing?"  Well, in addition to helping us get set up to paint and trying to help fix the sprayer and paint problem,  he was involved in another huge project.  Cabin 7, our small cabin has been in dire need of some major renovation.  The added on bathroom roof was rotten and threatening to fall apart.  John felt it would be best to just tear it all down and put the new bathroom inside the cabin itself to eliminate problems of one part not heaving with the other during the winter months.  With lots of thought, we figured a way to have one larger bedroom with a queen bed and room for a single bed if needed, another small single bedroom and the bathroom.  That way we can still sleep three to four people.  There was an added blessing to tearing down the old bathroom.  Right under the joint where the bathroom was attached to the cabin, John found a dead skunk that had been the cause for a terrible smell in the cabin all summer.  We are finally free of that odor.  Yay!!

After John completed the arduous task of removing the old bathroom, he started in on the next major step which was digging out under the cabin and jacking it up higher.  In order to accomplish that he had to first remove the deck using the backhoe.  I don't know what we would do without that most useful piece of equipment.  He  then used blue rock and cement pads to help it maintain its new elevated position.  What a job that was!  I know he was very relieved when that part was completed.

Now we are working inside putting up a wall for the bathroom, putting up sheetrock, painting, laying new flooring in the bathroom, and carpet in the bedrooms.  It should look pretty nice at the end of it all.  Only the best for our guests!!  :)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Anniversary Celebration

On September 15th, John and I will be celebrating 41 years of marriage.   It was an amazing miracle that this girl from central Florida and this guy from northern Minnesota ever got together.  I was a senior at University of Central Florida studying to be an elementary school teacher.  In all honesty, my greatest desire was to be a wife and mother over a teacher, but I had not met anyone I felt I was to marry.  Just before Christmas, I was standing in my bedroom and I spoke a prayer to God. 

 I said, "Lord, I KNOW you have someone for me and even if he lives in timbuktu, (somewhere far away) I know you can bring us together."

About two weeks later, my parents announced that our family would be driving to Minnesota over Christmas break to stay at a cabin my great uncle gave us in Buyck, MN and see what snow looked like.  My older sister would not be coming since she was married, so it was my parents, two younger brothers and one younger sister going on the trip.  At the last minute I invited a male friend to come along too just for fun. 

Once we hit Cloquet the snow started to fall.  We had stopped at a large department store to get some supplies and we all danced around in the parking lot with our faces lifted up and our mouths open wide trying to catch snow.  What a sight that must have been to other shoppers.  :)

It was quite an experience for us at the cabin, burning wood in a little pot belly stove for warmth, playing tackle football in the snow, having snowball fights and exploring the nearby woods.  Our neighbors informed us there was going to be an annual Christmas program at a one room schoolhouse nearby.  Being that my Dad is an extravert and wanted to meet everyone in the community, we decided to go.

After the program was over and we were enjoying some snacks, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a big hunk of a man standing over by the door dressed in outdoor clothing.  Soon he disappeared and I went to see where he went.  I discovered that my sister and two brothers were already outside gawking at his brand new Arctic Cat snowmobile.  We had never seen one of those before.  I joined the group as did my friend Niel.  

John was attempting to put on a face mask and then his helmet preparing to leave.  When he looked up and saw us staring at him, he asked, "Does anybody want a  ride?" 

There was a moment of silence and then I heard myself say,  "I do".
 I shocked myself as well as everyone else.  I didn't know this man.  How could I go off on a snowmobile with him?  Once I sat down behind him, he asked my name and where we were staying and then he took me for a very short ride.  I never expected to see him again.

The next day we heard a group of snowmobiles go zipping past our little cabin and down onto the Vermillion River.  One of my brothers ran outside to see if he could find them.  Then my other brother went out, then my sister and finally Neil and I followed.  John WAS in the pack.  In fact they drove right past my brother Rick who was then standing on the river.   The Holy Spirit spoke to John's heart to turn around and go back to that young man standing on the river.

So John left his friends and came back to talk to Rick and realized he met him at the Christmas program the night before.  Soon the rest of us came down to the river and also talked to John.  My brother invited him up to our cabin for hot chocolate and that's when our relationship began. 

We went on lots of snowmobiling trips together, had sliding parties with large inner tubes by firelight, went Christmas caroling with both our families and  went to his house for dinner to meet his parents.

We both knew the Lord had brought us together and three months later we were engaged. 

It's been quite an adventure being married to this woodsman from Minnesota who has now brought us to Canada.  We are so thankful for our three wonderful children and two grandchildren who have been the greatest joys of our lives.   And we look forward expectantly to all the Lord has planned for the future.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Long Awaited Visit

We have had such a glorious week with our son Jonathan, his wife Reseth and their two darling sons Aaron 3 and Titus 1, along with our daughter Cherish from Ely and of course Joanna who stays with us at camp.  Aaron is extremely verbal and some of the most hilarious things come out of his mouth.  We were kept in constant laughter between his verbal exchanges and Titus' creative dance moves while Cherish played her keyboard or I played the guitar.  His head bobbled back and forth as he clapped his hands and crouched in a deep knee position and sometimes twirled around dipping one shoulder.  Classic moves.  They both love music.  Aaron has a complete drum set at home that he often plays on for hours in a day, so when Cherish brought him some bongos to play, he went right at it.

I think we did everything you could possibly do for fun during their week stay, including fishing, swimming, boating, four wheeling, berry picking, floating down the Lazy River, hiking, watching old family movies, playing games, and roasting hot dogs and marsh mellows around the campfire. 

There's nothing like being together with family for soul satisfying memories.  Titus is at the age where you can still hug and kiss him to your heart's delight and he doesn't mind too much.  Although Aaron is still very expressive in loving us all with lots of hugs and kisses and the two brothers are constantly expressing their affection to each other which really warms my heart.  It's probably because Jonathan and Reseth have been pouring oodles of love and affection into both of them.  It just can't help but come out of them.

We only get to see them once or twice a year, so each visit is extra special and long awaited.

Ring Around the Doghouse

Joanna mated one of her best racing dogs, Lark, to a very accomplished winning male dog near Duluth and got seven energetic puppies; six females and one male.  As you would imagine, they are hungry ALL the time, especially as they grow older and Lark is getting less and less patient in wanting to feed the brew. 

One day Joanna caught a humorous sight on camera while Lark was in the puppy pen.  They were wanting to take another slurp and she decided that was enough and began to run around the doghouse to get away from them.  In her hasty retreat, she actually lapped them and they caught up to her, latching on with vigor for a satisfying drink.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rick and Nick

Oh my, what a fun filled, exciting, relaxing, enjoyable ten days I just had with my brother Rick from Oakwood, GA and my sister Nicki  (Nicolette), from Casselberry, Florida.  Rick has been up to stay with us two times before, but this was Nicki's first time.  She and I grew up surfing together on the beaches of Florida and she lives on a small lake, so I knew that even though she had never been fishing before, she would enjoy the water activities we have to offer here.

I went to Thunder Bay to pick them up at the airport and decided to stop at Kakabeka Falls on the way back since the water was high this year and figured it would be thundering over the falls.  There are some new facilities at the attraction now making it very welcoming.  We were all overwhelmed by what we saw and took lots of pictures.

Rick was chomping at the bit to get back to our place since his visit last year when he took his son down river with a canoe and caught probably 50 Pike just casting along the edges.  It was a memorable time for him and the other four family members who came with him.

Since it was just Rick, Nicki, Joanna and myself this time, we took a boat and trailered to several different lakes to give them a better taste of the beautiful area in which we live.  For our first fishing day, we went to Barrel Lake.  Joanna caught a good sized Walleye and was holding it up for Rick to take her picture when all of a sudden it wiggled out of her hands and fell to the bottom of the boat.... right beside Nicki who was seated in a lawn chair.  She let out a shriek, jerking up her feet and arms to get away from the flopping fish.  It was one of those moments you wish you could have captured on video.  I thought she was going to flip out of the boat.  She's just not used to being around stinky, wiggly fish.  But she ended up catching most of the fish during their stay and even learned how to put on her own worms.   I was amazed when I went to clean the fish that Nicki wanted to learn how to do that too.  I KNEW she was a pioneer woman at heart. 

Our days were full of all kinds of activities like four wheeling down logging roads, picking blueberries, floating in tubes down the Lazy River ( the winding, sandy-bottomed river going into Mamieguess Lake),  tubing the rapids under the bridge, bonfire with smores and lots of fishing.  Nicki said she wanted to have lots of Walleye meals since she probably wouldn't eat it again till her next visit.

On their last evening here,  Rick took Nicki out on Indian Lake to one of our favorite fishing spots which we call the Barrel.  It's the end of the sandbar that juts out from the peninsula between upper and middle Indian Lake.  The sun was setting in the west, the moon was rising from the east mirroring itself in the glassy calm water.  They were the only ones out there.  She said she had never known such stillness.  It was perfectly quiet except for the occasional call of the lonely loon or caw of a seagull.  What a balm for the soul!!

I'm so thankful for these special family times when we can reconnect and enjoy God's beauty together.