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Phone: (218)663-7150
Fax: (218)663-7980
Mail: 4620 Sawbill Trail
Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: March 2002
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « February 2002 | April 2002 »
3/29/02 - Weather in northern Minnesota is a very dynamic thing. It's not uncommon for the temperature to vary by 30 or more degrees from one day to the next. Even within the same day, the weather can change dramatically. We experienced that phenomenon yesterday. After the initial storm left us with about 3" of snow, we had a break for an hour or so. I was just considering plowing when the snow began again. This time the flakes were much smaller and it was more on the verge of rain. The earlier snow packed down and started to break up some. By early afternoon the second round of snow had passed and the clouds began to drift away. Around 3:00 the sun was poking through the clouds and the snow encasing the trees began to melt. So much moisture was coming off the trees it wasn't just dripping, it was literally raining off the trees. By late afternoon it was the warmest it had been all day and felt like spring again. I was sure I could even smell a bit of pine sap in the air. We had gone from January to April in about 10 hours. The evening remained clear and a brilliant full moon rose early. I walked outside around 11pm and looked up at the moon which had traveled to nearly the high point in the sky. All the moisture in the air had created the perfect conditions for a moon halo. A pearly white ring completely encircled the moon. It was a beautiful sight. - Beth

The road to the lake at 10:00 am yesterday. The same spot at 5:00 pm yesterday.

3/28/02 - We're having a snow day today. I was thinking yesterday that I should write a little about all the signs of spring that have been popping up in the last week or two. And then this morning I woke up to a snowstorm. I don't think I've seen it snow this hard all winter. Huge, wet flakes are pouring down, sticking to everything so that the south sides of all the trees look whitewashed. Then the wind picks up and all the snow stuck to the branches comes avalanching down. Homer and Sunnie look like wooly sheep when they come in after sitting outside for just a few minutes. You can tell its an early spring snow because its incredibly heavy wet snow - the thermometer is sitting right around 32 degrees. About 3" have fallen so far. I heard we may get up to 6", but the snow has let up right now. It may be time to go fire up the plow. - Beth

Homer and Sunnie seem unfazed by the snow.

3/26/02 - I skate skied on Sawbill and Alton Lakes tonight at sunset. I heard from a friend in Ely that the lakes in that area have a firm enough snow crust to hold up a skier. The lakes here are not quite there yet. I mostly stayed on top, but every 30 seconds or so, my ski would break through the hard-pack into the soft snow below. This sent me sprawling, so I learned that I had to make my way guardedly. In spite of that impediment, it was a gorgeous time to be out on the lakes. The recent high winds have sculpted wild drifts that are terraced like a giant architect's landscape model. The low angle of the sun brought each minute terrace out in sharp relief and gradually turned them from white, to gold, to pink and finally purple. On Alton, I came across some huge fresh wolf footprints. The wolf was following an old snowshoe trail, which I soon discovered was firmer than the rest of the lake surface. Near shore I found a small hole of open water. It was surrounded by otter tracks and littered with the claws and heads of crayfish. I counted 24 sets of claws. As I headed home, the light faded and a huge moon lighted my way home. - Bill

3/20/02 - Winter is hanging on here at Sawbill. I heard on the radio today that it is likely that March will stand as the coldest month of the winter this year, for the first time in the 110 years that records have been kept. We are still skiing on our groomed ski trail here at Sawbill. The lakes still have a foot or so of soft snow on them. The lakes and rivers will become skiways as soon as the days get warmer and the nights stay cold. It is a phenomenon that we wait for each year. We can skate ski across the lakes and down the rivers with so little effort that we all feel like Olympic skiers.

With the recent, if tardy, snowfalls and the rain we had last Fall, it is a good prognosis for the canoeing season. Ice out should be fairly close to normal (end of April/beginning of May) and water levels will be good. - Bill

3/13/02 - We've had a few requests for pictures of the construction progress. Its a little difficult to take pictures in the store that really do justice to the project. But I gave it my best shot and here they are. The ceilings in the store and outfitting area have been paneled and are beautiful. The sheet-rock is almost finished in the store/outfitting also. Then the painting will happen. The sheet-rock and painting in the new part of the building has been finished and the flooring and carpeting will go in next week. Then the new part - including the new offices and food department -will be ready to has things moved in. - Beth

The picture on the left is looking at the wall that was the front of the old store. The half wall forms an alcove on the other side where the books and fireplace will be. The new store counter will be where the sawhorses are in the lower left side of the picture. The picture on the right is taken from where the store counter used to be. The windows and door on the right are the new front of the store.

This is a closer look at the book/fireplace area. There will be a couch and a couple of chairs in this area, as well as a TV above the fireplace to watch the Forest Service video.

3/12/02 - Spring fever has hit some of us here at Sawbill. Cindy and I were in the cities this weekend and stopped in Duluth to have a little bit of color added to our hair to help us through the last leg of winter. We were rather excited and talked about it at coffee break with the construction guys. Grey said his wife, Sue Jordan (former crew may remember her from Northland Hardware), had also been to the salon in Duluth and came home with short spiked hair with fire-engine red streaks. He said it looks great. Don, being the slave to fashion that he is, didn't want to feel left out of the hair color craze, so he and his wife Patty decided to glamour him up over the weekend. He out-did both of our hair colors when he took his cap off this morning to reveal a head full of purple tinted hair. He looks fabulous!

That's not your natural color Don?

3/5/02 - Cindy and the kids saw three wolves near Tofte on the way to school yesterday. They got a good look at them as they ambled away. I saw two wolves on the highway Thursday night. Last night, a flying squirrel glided down to the bird feeder while Beth and I were watching. Flying squirrels are common here, but are nocturnal, so rarely seen.

I was able to perform another stranded motorist rescue on the Sawbill Trail late Thursday night. I was returning from the Richard Thompson concert in Duluth just before midnight. The concert was wonderful and I felt fine when I left Duluth. As I passed through Two Harbors, my stomach began to churn and by the time I reached Silver Bay I was in the full grip of the 24 hour stomach flu - vomiting, fever, aches and all the rest. I relieved to finally turn up the Sawbill Trail in Tofte, headed for my own warm cozy bed. Eight miles up the Sawbill Trail a dark form emerged from the woods onto the road. I assumed it was a moose, but I was surprised to see that it was a woman in a large black coat. She had mistakenly tried to drive on the unplowed Honeymoon Trail and got stuck in the middle of that road. She had walked for an hour and a half in the -5 degree night. She had no hat of gloves, but fortunately was able to protect herself with the large wool coat. I called Bud Nelson, our local tow truck operator, on the radio and waited with her until he arrived. When I apologized for being so sick, she said "I just had the flu four days ago." She was sympathetic and not off put by my forays into the ditch to hurl. - Bill
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « February 2002 | April 2002 »


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