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Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: April 2002
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « March 2002 | May 2002 »
4/25/02 - The ice left the south end of Sawbill Lake today. It was unusual because the temperature never rose above freezing. The 30+ mile an hour west winds probably made up for the lack of warmth. I am guessing that Alton, Cherokee and most of the larger lakes are probably still ice covered. 3" of snow is forecast for tomorrow night, so summer has not arrived quite yet. - Bill

4/20/02 - We are considering renaming this page "Don's Hair Page." At his official birthday party last night the friend who gave him the nearly shaved head a few days ago tried to make up for it with her gift. - Bill

Don (again on the right), obviously passed the hair gene to his son Elliot.

4/19/02 - Don Noyce, easy going carpenter on our construction crew, surprised us with a new hairdo a couple of days ago. He was getting a hair cut from a friend who made a mistake and ended up solving the problem by all but shaving Don's head. Yesterday was his 50th birthday, so Cindy celebrated both events with one of her famous creative cakes. - Bill

50 year old Don Noyce (right), and friend.

4/17/02 - A high of 77 degrees yesterday and today's strong winds are doing wonders to reduce the amount of ice on the lake. There is 12" of solid ice and no slush. The lake is a very dark gray and the ice has melted around the shore leaving a few inches of open water at the edge. - Beth

4/16/02 - The signs of spring are everywhere right now. The pussy willows are erupting, the canoes are coming out of hiding from under piles of snow, the birds are filling the air with songs, and Mary Alice's tulips seem to get taller by the hour. Almost every day during the past week a new type of bird has returned from winter vacation. The first robin appeared last week with a very disgruntled look on its face as it stood on the side of the road and watched it snow. They are happily singing loudly now with the warm weather. I got a close up look at a pair of pileated woodpeckers when I scared them out of a ditch while out for a walk. The juncos arrived this past weekend in huge flocks. A gaggle of Canada geese honked a hello on their way north one afternoon. A few purple finches have been around the feeders and Bill said he saw a number of thrushes today. As of last night, the lake still has 18" of solid ice but the slushy layer on top has disappeared. -Beth

4/15/02 - We are experiencing some fast melting here at Sawbill in the wake of unseasonably warm weather. As a side effect of the melting, a beautiful ground fog developed over the lake last night at sunset. We all took a walk down to the landing to enjoy the warm breezes and magic light. Beth drilled a hole on Saturday and found 20" of hard ice with 8" of watery slush on top of that. - Bill

Looking west from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing about 7:30 pm.

A pine in the fog across the bay.

4/11/02 - Some of the Hansens just returned from the Caribbean island of Anguilla. Cindy's mother, Arline, was vacationing there with her boyfriend, Keck Melby. Keck flew his four children, five grandkids, Arline's two daughters, and her four grandchildren down as a surprise for Arline. Fortunately for me, spouses were included. We all gathered at one end of a beach the first morning while Keck got Arline set at the other end of the beach. His sister and a friend (who live on Anguilla), unfurled a large banner and walked down the beach. The banner said, "Arline, Will you marry me? - Keck." As soon as Arline got over the shock of the banner, the entire family came walking down the beach in a group. She was completely surprised. She agreed to marry him and the wedding took pace the next day. We then spent six more days lying in the sun, snorkeling, swimming, eating and generally enjoying the island life. It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it :-)

Clare, Bill, Carl and Cindy Hansen on the paradise island of Anguilla.

4/8/02 - Yesterday a burst of spring appeared. The thermometer proudly showed off temperatures in the 50's and mud puddles sprang up everywhere. The gray jays are showing up everywhere again. They disappeared for a while during the time when they were nesting. Now, their babies should be almost at the fledgling stage and the adults are becoming more active. I saw at least 6 or 7 in the trees lining the road a few days ago. -Beth

The finished stonework on the new fireplace. The painting is complete and the wood slatwall paneling is installed.

4/5/02 - Around mid-afternoon, former Sawbill crew members Dave Freeman and John "OB" Oberholtzer skied into Sawbill after a few days of winter camping. They started at Baker Lake, worked their way up to Cherokee and then headed back to Sawbill. When I asked how things looked out there, they answered simultaneously "Wintery!". They saw no signs of spring break-up or melting and the packed snow held them on skis. Hans (of the store building crew) said he had been ice fishing yesterday about 20 miles from here and the ice and snow cover on the lake was around 40" deep. I became curious about Sawbill so the dogs and I dug out the ice auger and headed for the middle of the lake. I didn't put on skis or snowshoes and the snow held in most places, only occasionally breaking through. We discovered that the packed snow is about 6" deep and the ice underneath is around 24" deep, with a slush layer between the two. It's been cold the past few days, but warmer temps are forecasted for next week. Maybe the melting will begin soon. -Beth

4/4/02 - Yesterday evening the dogs and I went for a walk. The sun had begun to set and by the time we turned around to head back, it was getting quite dark. I was pausing every few minutes to look up at the stars which were beginning to make their evening debuts. During one of these stops, a bit of movement off to the side caught my eye. I focused on the object at the top of a 30 feet tree. The first thought that came into my head was "Its a chicken up a tree!". It was actually a grouse eating catkins on the very top branches of a birch tree. But at that point in the evening, I could only see silhouettes, no details or color were visible - and the outline looked just like a typical barnyard chicken. Grouse always amuse me when they are up in the trees. They are such a large bird and they perch on very thin branches trying to reach all the juicy morsels they can - but, to me, they look completely out of place. I keep expecting to see the branch bend, and in cartoon style slow-motion, the bird silently and motionlessly slide from the branch and tumble to the ground. So far, all the birds have stayed in the trees. -Beth

4/2/02 - More progress on the store to report. The painting in the store and outfitting area is complete. The rock work around the fireplace should be finished up today. The offices and food department just need light fixtures and outlets and then they will be complete. The little pieces are starting to fall into place. Its looking great.

A sure sign of spring came the other day. New canoes arrived! They were delivered with a protective plastic sheet wrapped around each one, making them look like 19' long cocoons. I unwrapped them yesterday and the smooth, shiny yellow brilliance of a pile of unpaddled canoes filled the yard. -Beth
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « March 2002 | May 2002 »


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