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Box 2129
Tofte, MN 55615

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: December 2002
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « November 2002 | January 2003 »
12/21/02 - Last night, the Hansen Family Band (with Clare on accordion, Carl on drums, and Bill on guitar) wow-ed an appreciative audience with Christmas songs at the nursing home in Grand Marais. The festive evening also included performances by the local dance group, Sterling Dance. Kids of all ages performed ballet, modern, and tap-dances to Christmas tunes. Clare, who has been dancing for many years, took part in a many of the pieces. Cindy, also an experienced dancer, tap-danced up a storm. I made my tap dancing debut and am happy to report I stayed on my feet the whole time. - Beth

Carl, Bill, and Clare rock out to "Joy to the World". Beth and Cindy getting ready to shuffle off to Buffalo in their tap shoes.

12/20/02 - We were lucky enough to have visits this week from the fantastic trio of Flemily, Frosty, and Freeman. That is, current and former crew members, Emily Stewart, Eric Frost, and Dave Freeman. Emily is on break from college and visiting her family in Grand Marais and Frosty and Dave were up making arrangement for their winter adventure ( They had to brave some nasty weather conditions to get here. We were hit with a sloppy ice storm on Wednesday. The storm shut down school and turned the Sawbill Trail into the world's longest ice rink. Last night, over an inch of sticky snow fell adding some traction to the slick ground.

As tomorrow is the winter solstice, our nights are amazingly long right now. A murky full moon illuminated the snowy sky last night. I walked to the lake hoping that the insulated silence created by the heavy snow would disguise my presence enough that I would catch a glimpse of something out for a night hunt. The only thing I saw were snowflakes, but we've gotten so few this winter it was almost as exciting as a good wildlife sighting. -Beth

12/16/02 - Even after our recent warm spell, there is still enough snow left to ski. We've all got our fingers crossed for some new snow but the forecast doesn't look promising. Homer seems to have completely recovered after having his left eye removed almost two weeks ago. He's back to his usual entertaining self and goes to the vet tomorrow for a final check-up. -Beth

Sunlight spilling over Sawbill Creek

12/13/02 - The past few days have been unusually warm with highs in the 30s and nights in the 20s. The warmth of the days has caused some snow melt and has created a lot of moisture in the atmosphere. A couple of mornings ago, the conditions were just right to produce a hoar frost. All of the trees were covered with inch long frost crystals and a dense fog hung in the air until late afternoon. -Beth

Frost covered branches.

12/12/02 - Surrounded by an X-Box birthday cake, new X-Box games, and an afternoon of playing X-Box, Carl Hansen was in hog heaven celebrating his 13th birthday this week. -Beth

Carl sports the season's trendiest elf hat while opening his birthday presents.

12/10.02 - I received the following message from the Forest Service today. It would be wonderful fun for someone who has their summer free. - Bill

U.S. Forest Service
Volunteer Recruitment Notice

The USFS Kawishiwi Ranger District has volunteer openings for the summer of 2003. The typical summer volunteer pairs up with a wilderness ranger to form a two-person crew that performs campsite and trail maintenance, and visitor contact throughout the Kawishiwi Ranger District of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Other opportunities involve working with a four-person trail crew, or staffing a remote USFS cabin on Kekekabic Lake.

These are considered “long term” positions, where a person’s minimum availability is required from early June through most of August, although earlier arrivals and later departures are often an option. No cost housing while not “on trail”, as well as reimbursement for incidental expenses such as meals is included.

For a detailed description of job duties and expectations, please refer to:, wilderness, volunteering, manual. An application is also available on this site.

Inquiries can be directed to:

John Pierce
Volunteer Coordinator
Kawishiwi Ranger District/Superior National Forest
118 S 4th Ave E
Ely, MN 55731
Phone: (218) 365-2080

12/05/02 - Homer, our golden retriever with the giant personality, had to have his left eye removed two days ago. He suffered from a fungus infection in the eye back in June. Although he beat the infection, the eye was damaged beyond usefulness, inflamed and wouldn't respond to treatment. He looks a little ghastly at the moment, but his spirits are good and he is healing fast. Ironically, our older retriever, Sunnie, lost the same eye to the same disease seven years ago. - Bill

12/3/02 - I was able to ski on the lake again today for the first time in two weeks. Since the lake froze over, there has been persistent and widespread slush on top of the ice. That has been rectified during the last two nights which have reached minus 10 degrees. The frozen slush now is covered with varying amounts of cold, dry snow. The skiing is good, but not great. After I had skied only about a mile, I spotted four wolves running across the ice in the narrows. All four were large adults and they were kicking up jets of snow as they sped down the shoreline. Later, I was picking my way through a trail that connects Alton and Kelso Lakes. The trail had so much rabbit traffic that it had hardened up enough to hold my skies on top. When I reached Kelso, all the rabbit tracks turned abruptly into a thicket, but one set of tracks led out onto the lake. I was surprised to see that they were the distinctive round tracks of the bobcat. I haven't seen bobcat tracks near Sawbill for more than twenty years. At the end of the ski, I stopped by Sawbill Creek to enjoy its snow shrouded beauty. Swimming in the open water at the mouth of the creek was a duck. I couldn't identify the species exactly because the light was failing. I do know that it is a crazy duck though. - Bill

12/1/02 - We got our Christmas tree today. This year we broke with tradition and selected a tamarack tree. The tamarack is the only conifer in this region that sheds its needles in the winter.

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Current Sawbill Newsletter | « November 2002 | January 2003 »


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