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

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Sawbill Newsletter Archives: September 2005
Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2005 | October 2005 »

9/28/05 - The juncos have been hopping up and down every path available searching for stray seeds to eat. Occasionally we hear a loud thunk as the squirrels throw pinecones down onto our buildings. Despite all these notorious signs of fall, we were treated, yesterday, to one more day of summery weather. The remaining crew members took advantage of the sunshine by having one last picnic outside on the back porch.

Sunny picnic.jpg

Today's weather has not been quite as cooperative. The skies have been grey since dawn and the wind has a touch of winter in its cold gusts. As a result, our picnic today was moved into the store and we dined on tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches by the fireplace.

Indoor Picnic.jpg

9/25/05 - Fall has certainly hit up here in the northwoods. The leaves on the trees are becoming more vibrant with each passing day. We even had our first partial frost a couple nights ago when the temperatures neared freezing. The weather, however, is not the only indicator we use to guage the seasons. We are down to a small company of crew members around to run the place. With so few of us left, we have found ourselves turning to our canine companions for entertainment. Homer provides near constant amusement with his games of hide-and-go-seek in the fallen pine needles. He was also recently found trying on a sled dog harness, clearly anticipating the coming winter.

Hide and Homer.jpg
Homer attempts a little stealth as he hides in the needles.

Homers Harness.jpg
Retrievers pulling dog sleds? It could just work.

9/21/05 - We are proud to announce that last week Bill was awarded the Environmental Hero Award by the Wilderness Society. The Wilderness Society's annual conference was held in Ely and local Minnesotans Paul Schurke, Steve Piragis, and Bill Hansen were given awards for their work protecting wilderness. This is a big honor and we are all very proud of Bill and all of his hard work. - Dave

Bill the tree hugger shows off his award.

9/20/05 - I am pleased to announce that the drought that has plagued Northern Minnesota is finally loosening its grip, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Last week 4 fires were reported within 20 miles of Sawbill. For several days the forest service float planes, known as beavers, were more active than their mammalian cousins who are as busy as ever adding mud to their lodges and storing up food for the winter. To tell you the truth, I was getting a little nervous because the largest fire, approximately 60 acres, was near Pipe Lake, which is less than two miles from my house. As if on cue, the rain gods decided to take pity on us. Perhaps they were also getting tired of the extra rocky portage landings, or maybe they just wanted to show up the weatherman.

Whatever caused the change, droplets of liquid gold were a welcome sight. It rained off and on for several days, and the earth sucked up each drop as soon as it hit the ground. It was enough rain to squelch the forest fires, but the water levels remained low and things still felt dry. Yesterday, that changed when the sky opened up and dumped 1.65 inches of rain on Sawbill. Finally, the ground had drunk its fill and pools and streams formed all around and the water levels began to rise.

Today canoeists were treated to a cloudless, 70 degree day. Perfect fall weather for exploring the BWCAW. - Dave

9/16/05 - The glorious fall weather that we have been treated to over the past few weeks has enticed many folks to visit Sawbill during what many people think is the best time of the year in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. One couple came into the store yesterday to renew their campsite for the third time. They came up about ten days ago planning to spend a night or two, and they are still here. When I asked when they would go home they cheerfully replied that they would stay for a few more days, but then they would have to leave because their lawn would need mowing. I thought they should call a neighbor and ask them to mow the lawn, or perhaps next time they should just chain a couple of goats up in their yard and let them keep the grass at bay. If keeping your lawn mowed is the only thing keeping you from spending the whole Fall up here then by all means get yourself a lawn sitter!

Last night was Shannon’s last night at Sawbill, and to celebrate the finish of her 4th season at Sawbill we had a Thanksgiving feast. Cindy, Jasmine, Laura, Alison, and Shannon took turns in the kitchen preparing all of the traditional fair, and after we closed at 7 PM we gorged ourselves on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, wild rice, asparagus, and pumpkin pie! Us gents on the crew graciously did the dishes after the grand ole feast. After dinner Jasmine, Jeff, Laura and I waddled down to the landing to gaze at the stars. Nights like that make it easy to remember why people return year after year to live and work at Sawbill Outfitters.

The Sawbill babes worked hard preparing dinner yesterday and the whole gang was all smiles as dinner was served.

Laura shows off the turkey platter as Frank shovels more food onto his plate.

Shannon left Sawbill with a plate full of food to drop off at Firefighter John's house in Schroeder on her way to Duluth last night. From the sound of it, the Sawbill Crew members are not the only people in Cook County that are sad to see Shannon go, but at least we were all treated to a hearty meal before she left. Not to worry, Shannon is planning to return to Sawbill to visit and pitch in for a weekend in October.

9/14/05- News Flash! Multiple reports have been made of renegade dogs running loose on The Grade road. Most of the sightings have occurred near crew member Dave Freeman's property, who just happens to own six, very rambunctious sled dogs. When asked for comment on the situation Dave stated, "Catching them is easy, containing them is the hard part!" We'll keep you posted on the escape attempts of these sled dogs!
Fennel, one of the escapees.

9/12/05- Throughout its history, Sawbill has attracted many crew members who are vegetarians and/or vegans. Of the remaining fall crew members, none believe in this alternative lifestyle. "Bring on the Beef!" can be heard echoing across Sawbill Lake from the crew's dining quarters. One of the ringleaders of this movement is Alison Behm. Knowing her love for a good steak, fellow crew members Laura Smith and I hatched a plan to give Alison a birthday steak she wouldn't soon forget. We celebrated her birthday with a lovely dinner (a fabulous t-bone for Alison) and a great cake. Happy 23rd Alison!
- Shannon
Alison enjoying her birthday steak.
Alison's cake representing her future move to Skagit County in Washington State.

9/11/05 - We received this email from Tom Weiss.

I did a 9-day trip out of Cross Bay last week and this week and wanted
to relate something that was pretty exciting to me that happened:

A snowshoe hare in its brown summer coat ran down the point at my
campsite on Long Island Lake, and ran around my feet several times, not
more than a few feet away. It seemed really agitated and was acting
really strangely. It then ran about 10 feet from me and jumped on an
exposed rock in the water that was about 2 feet from the shore, turned
around, jumped in the water, shook itself off, and then hid behind a big
rock, in plain view to me. I thought it was diseased or something
because it was acting so strangely. Suddenly, I heard galloping feet
through the campsite heading my way. I looked and it was a marten. The
marten ran all over the campsite, around me, and looked like it was
searching for something. It spied the hare, the hare realized it was
busted, and the hare took off down the brushy shoreline about 20 feet,
with the marten in hot pursuit.

I then heard the hare bleating (screaming) for about 15-20 seconds and
then there was silence. I walked toward where I heard the hare making
the sounds, and watched the marten dragging the now-dead hare into the
woods. It was really struggling with it as it was much larger than the
marten. Pretty amazing. Later, I looked for where the marten had
dragged the hare, and couldn't find it, so it must have dragged it a
long way. I am now impressed with martens.

Tom Weiss

9/09/05- The season of fall usually means we begin the transition into winter but it also means a last burst of color before the snow. Last night, on a bike ride, Jeff Green and I came upon one of the first trees on the Sawbill Trail whose leaves have changed a beautiful, bright red. Nature, not to be outdone by the beautiful fall colors, also blessed us with a stunning sunset. - Shannon

A burst of red graces the Sawbill Trail.

A spectacular fall sunset over Sawbill Lake.

9/08/05- Well, the season of fall has officially arrived here at Sawbill, but we would not know it by the beautiful weather we are experiencing. The only indication of fall is the beginning of school for both of the Hansen children. Carl started his sophomore year at Cook County High School on Tuesday and Clare began her first year of college at St. Scholastica in Duluth that same day.

Carl and Cindy gear up for another year of early car rides to school.

Clare shows off her new dorm room.

9/06/05 - This morning at 10:05 AM three buses left the Sawbill parking lot loaded with 109 incoming Freshmen from Carleton College. The relative masses of people that converge on Sawbill every Labor Day weekend were gone, and we took a deep breath....Fall has arrived!

To celebrate we closed for Dinner this evening for the first time since May, and we will close tonight at 7 PM, marking the beginning of our Fall hours. From now until the end of the season we will be open from 8 AM until 7 PM. - Dave

9/04/05 - Sawbill has been buzzing with activity for the last week, but all of the activity has left us exhausted, which leaves me, the person in charge of updating the newsletter this week in a bit of a crux. It seems like every hour something new happens that is newsletter worthy, but before I know it is 10 PM and it feels like I haven’t sat down since my eyes opened at 6:30 AM. So instead of writing I am going to bide by the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.

A long time Labor Day tradition at Sawbill, Fish N Pick, was in full swing last night as about 50 people gathered to listen to some amazing folk musicians playing around the campfire in the canoe yard.

Last night the northern lights graced us with another spectacular showing. It was the perfect compliment to some fine music. Dozens of people staying in the campground stood at the landing admiring the light display.

Fall’s cool nights have rewarded early risers with some memorable fog filled mornings.

A mother and her son out to catch breakfast on Sawbill.

The crew helped Mary Alice Hansen polish off this giant cake on her 82nd birthday!

Adam Hansen left Sawbill to attend his first year of Law School at the University of Minnesota a few days ago and Clare Hansen loaded up several car loads of stuff and headed for the College of St Scholastica - Duluth, yesterday. Poor Carl Hansen is the only child left at home. He boxed himself up hoping that one of his siblings would take him along, but lucky for Sawbill, Carl remains undelivered and will continue to work at Sawbill for a few more days before starting his sophomore year at Cook County High.

Current Sawbill Newsletter | « August 2005 | October 2005 »

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