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Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: May 2002
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « April 2002 | June 2002 »
5/30/02 - We finally got some rain last night. .45" fell during two waves of thunder storms between 3 and 4 am. The broad leaf asters are literally popping out of the ground this morning. Yesterday the forest floor was brown and crunchy and this morning it is fresh green and springy. There was a lot of lightning with the storms last night, so the Forest Service is checking carefully for smoke today.

5/29/02 - The extremely dry weather has prompted the Forest Service to institute fire restrictions in the designated blow-down area of the BWCAW. The fire restrictions allow fires only between 7pm and midnight in the blow-down area, camp stoves, however, are allowed at any time. Sawbill is included in the fire restriction area. Areas east and north of Sawbill are also included. Areas west of Sawbill, beyond Alton Lake, are not included in the restrictions. A detailed description of the fire restriction area can be seen on the Forest Service website,

5/27/02 - The weather has finally shaped up and Memorial Day weekend has been sunny and warm. The marsh marigolds, violets, and wild strawberries are blooming and the buds on the trees are just beginning to pop open and let the tiny new leaves out. As usual, with the advent of summer, the black flies have made their first appearance. The crew has also started showing up - Justin Hoekstra, Nathan TerBeest, Shannon Grace, Jeff Green, and Laura Smith have all recently arrived - and more are on their way. You may see a lot of familiar faces on the crew this summer as everyone has worked at Sawbill before. This is only the second time in Sawbill's history that this has happened.

Some of the crew practicing their counter lean in the new store - Jeff Green, Shannon Grace, Laura Smith, Clare Hansen, and Justin Hoekstra.

Its been a bit stressful around Sawbill as Homer the Dog has been very sick. He had a sore eye and began to limp last week. These are the same symptoms that Sunnie had when she got sick with Blastomycosis (a fungal infection which caused her to loose her eye). Homer went to the vet in Duluth, who determined that Homer does indeed have Blasto. He has lost the vision in his left eye, but there is a chance that he will regain sight in that eye when he recovers from the Blasto. He has been started on medicine and appears to doing better in the last day or two. -Beth

5/23/02 - Bill Hansen is running for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Bill has been active in Minnesota's Democratic, Farmer, Labor (DFL) Party for many years. The state senator from this district, Doug Johnson, retired this year and the local representative, Tom Bakk, is running for Johnson's senate seat. The open house seat has attracted five candidates so far on the DFL side of the ticket - including Bill. There is an DFL endorsing convention on June 15th. Bill is actively seeking the party endorsement. He has pledged to abide by the endorsement process. The primary election is September 10th and the general election is November 5th. The legislative schedule works pretty well for an outfitter in Minnesota. The legislature meets in the winter, when we are closed.

Minnesota has very progressive public campaign finance laws. Minnesota voters can contribute up to $50 to the candidate of their choice and the state will reimburse them fully. Candidates accepting public financing have limits on how much they can spend and must disclose the names and occupations of contributors over $200.

You can check Bill's campaign website for details. After the endorsing convention, Bill will keep and on-line diary of the campaign similar to this news letter.

5/20/02 - A big thank-you goes out to the friends and former crew members who came up a few weekends ago and helped move into the new building. Countless boxes were moved and unpacked, all the equipment in the dome was brought over to the new building, and many shelves were filled. Despite the cold and rainy weather, everyone had great attitudes and worked like dogs. We also had a good number of laughs, enjoyed a few beers, and managed to find time for a couple of saunas. -Beth

Ed Dallas, Sawbill's poet laureate, works on his extra-sturdy clothes line...Former crew member, Bob Kubiak, tries to find a comfy spot for a nap.

Tim Velner practices for World's Strongest Man try-outs....Current crew member Betsy Moyer, and former crew members Annie Strupeck and Michelle Thieman fondly remember all the late night trip packing they did in the dome.


5/15/02 - Sorry for the long hiatus in newsletter entries, but we have been extremely busy getting the new building up and running. Construction is 99% done on the inside. Just a few finishing touches required. We are hanging pictures, making signs and carting all the stuff back in that we carted out last fall.

Opening of fishing was generally cold, wet and fishing was slow. In other words, a fine traditional Minnesota fishing opener. I only heard of one lake trout and one northern being caught. Ken Steffke, from Rosemount, and his group have been fishing on the opener for over twenty years. They said this was the slowest year ever for fishing. They thought the weather was fine, even though there was snow on the ground when they put in.

5/2/02 - There is a long standing tradition at Sawbill that the first day the ice goes out, the crew jumps in the lake. It is enthusiastically declared the opening of the "Sawbill Beach Club". Two days ago we gritted our teeth and decided it was the day to open the beach club. Although the pictures make it look like a warm spring day, there was actually a bitter wind nipping at our noses (as well as other body parts). Homer and Bea looked interested but apparently had more sense than us.

Bill can you say "shrinkage"? ....................................................... First "swim" of the summer....its been a long winter.

After the ice went out and we pretended it was summer, we received three inches of snow. Last night we had over an inch and another couple of inches fell this afternoon. I don't think it got above freezing all day. The Forest Service has been doing fly-overs of the lakes and reports that Brule and Alton still are ice covered and Cherokee has a small amount of ice on it. Maybe the Sawbill will freeze again and we'll have to reopen the beach club. Ummm, I think we'll wait until June. - Beth, Betsy, Cindy, Dave

5/1/02 - The water was turning purple from the sunset as we slid the canoe into the water. The large crystals of ice that had surrounded the landing and sounded like wind chimes in the waves had disappeared from yesterday. The dark calm water welcomed us to the first paddle of the season. It took a few strokes for our arms and our balance to remember what this was like. Betsy and I caught up with a loon pair and they allowed us to get within 20 feet. Their gentle clucks back and forth to each other were a sharp contrast to the sound normally heard from loons. After a few moments, one of the loons belted out his well-known call and we heard it echo for a few stretched out seconds. The call must have made it all the way to Burnt Lake to the east and past Alton to the west. We reached the Alton portage and glided up to the shore. Every movement seemed loud in the deep stillness of the evening. A large snowdrift greeted us at the Alton side of the portage and, as we scrambled over it, we were surprised to find a solid sheet of ice still covering the entire lake. No path was open to even wind around the lake. It is still winter on Alton Lake. While standing on the shore, we heard a strange low whine coming from the opposite shore. We debated whether it was wolves or moose. It was so faint, but a thrilling sound irregardless of the origin. We headed back over the portage to where it was spring again. Neither of us spoke much on the paddle back, and then only in whispers - neither of us wanting to pollute the silence. - Beth
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « April 2002 | June 2002 »


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